There are no short-cuts when it comes to senior inter-county football, according to Meath’s Ben Brennan.
The St Colmcille’s clubman’s appetite for hard work is evident for all to see every time he takes to the field.
Having plied his trade at junior level in 2017, he received the call-up to Andy McEntee’s senior squad the following year and has been an ever-present in their run to this Sunday’s Leinster SFC final.
“It’s non-negotiable,” he said of the commitment levels that’s required to compete on the senior scene.
“You have to give 100% every time you hit the field, 99% isn’t enough at this level. It’s not the sort of thing that you can give anything less to. In my head it’s work as hard as you can for as long as you can and then, hopefully, the football will look after itself.”
It’s fair to say that Brennan’s senior championship debut didn’t go as well as he would have liked - last summer’s Leinster SFC quarter-final defeat to Longford marked the lowest point on the team’s learning curve.
“You have to go on these journeys as well to maybe drive you on. I suppose if we went on a bit of a run last year we might not have had the drive to get back and put a real push on this year.
“Last year was a big disappointment but we’ve gone about our business a bit better this year.”
Meath enter this Sunday’s Leinster SFC final as rank outsiders against a Dublin team aiming for a ninth provincial success in-a-row.
“All we can do is just concentrate on ourselves and not worry about the opposition,” the half-forward pointed out.
“If you start worrying about the opposition then there’s a possibility that you take your eye off what you’re supposed to do yourself. You have to keep your eye on what you’re meant to do and make sure you do it to your optimum ability.
“Otherwise, your standards are going to slip and that’s when you’re going to be in trouble.”
The 26-year-old is keeping his fingers crossed that he has done enough to secure one of the starting berths for this weekend’s encounter.
“It’s an achievement in itself to get a place in the starting 15,” he pointed out.
“Part of the progress this year is the strength of the squad and the complete buy-in from everyone going forward. Everyone is driving towards the one goal and that’s getting Meath back to where we belong, hopefully.”Tweet