Kieran Brennan

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Kieran Brennan
Major General Kieran Brennan.jpg
Born (1957-06-20) 20 June 1957 (age 61)
Jenkinstown, Kilkenny, Ireland
Allegiance  Ireland
Service/branch Badge of the Irish Defence Forces.svg Army
Years of service 1975–present
Rank IE-Army-OF7.png Major general
Commands held 2015 Deputy Chief of Staff Ops
2010 Military Advisor to OSCE
2008 Commander 98th Inf Bn EUFOR Chad/CAR
2004 Commander 28th Inf Gp KFOR
Battles/wars UNIFIL (Lebanon)
KFOR (Kosovo)
EUFOR Chad/CAR (Chad)
Awards IRL Service Medal - gold stripe.svg Service Medal
IRL United Nations Peacekeepers Medal.svg UN Peacekeepers Medal
1916 Centenary Commemorative Medal.png Centenary Medal
UNIFIL Ribbon bar.gif UN Medal for UNIFIL
NATO Medal w Służbie Pokoju i Wolności BAR.svg NATO Medal for KFOR
ESDP Medal EUFOR TCHAD-RCA ribbon bar.png CSDP Medal for EUFOR Chad/CAR
Kieran Brennan
Personal information
Irish name Ciarán Ó Braonán
Sport Hurling
Position Centre-forward
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Years Club
Conahy Shamrocks
Club titles
Kilkenny titles 0
Years County Apps (scores)
1978–1987 Kilkenny 22 (3–50)
Inter-county titles
Leinster titles 5
All-Irelands 2
All Stars 1
*Inter County team apps and scores correct as of 13:17, 17 June 2015.

Kieran Brennan (born 20 June 1957) is an Irish Army Major general and retired hurler who played as a centre-forward for the Kilkenny senior team. He currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations with the Irish Defence Forces.

Born in Jenkinstown, County Kilkenny, Brennan first played competitive hurling during his schooling at St. Kieran's College. He arrived on the inter-county scene at the age of sixteen when he first linked up with the Kilkenny minor team before later joining the under-21 side. He made his senior debut during the 1978 championship. Brennan subsequently became a regular member of the starting fifteen and won two All-Ireland medals, five Leinster medals and two National Hurling League medals. He was an All-Ireland runner-up on one occasion.[1]

At club level Brennan won several intermediate and junior championship medals with Conahy Shamrocks.

His brothers, Nickey and Canice, also enjoyed All-Ireland success with Kilkenny.

Throughout his career Brennan made 22 championship appearances. His retirement came following the conclusion of the 1987 championship.

In retirement from playing Brennan became involved in team management and coaching with club side Conahy Shamrocks.[2]

Playing career[edit]


During his schooling at St. Kieran's College in Kilkenny, Brennan established himself as a key member of the senior hurling team. In 1974 he won a Leinster medal following a 5–11 to 2–3 defeat of St. Peter's College. On 28 April 1974 St. Kieran's faced St. Finbarr's College in the All-Ireland decider. A narrow 2–11 to 1–12 score line resulted in defeat for Brennan's side.

In 1975 Brennan was appointed captain of the St. Kieran's senior team. He won a second successive Leinster medal that year as St. Kieran's defeated Presentation College from Birr by 6–12 to 4–3. On 20 April 1975 St. Kieran's faced Colaiste Iognaid Ris from Cork in the All-Ireland decider. A huge 6–9 to 2–3 victory gave Brennan, who scored 2–3, an All-Ireland medal.[3]


Brennan, along with his brother, Nickey, played club hurling and football with his local club Conahy Shamrocks. He was a key part of the team that won the junior county title in 1976 and county intermediate titles in 1977 and 1986.

Minor and under-21[edit]

Brennan first played for Kilkenny as a member of the minor team in 1974. An 8–19 to 3–5 trouncing of Dublin secured a fourth successive provincial title for the team and a first Leinster medal for Brennan. The subsequent All-Ireland decider on 1 September 1974 saw Cork providing the opposition. In a low-scoring game Brennan's side were defeated by 1–10 to 1–8.

The Kilkenny minors retained their provincial dominance in 1975 with Brennan collecting a second successive Leinster medal following a 2–18 to 3–4 defeat of Dublin once again. On 6 September 1975 Kilkenny faced Cork in the All-Ireland decider for the second year in succession. The Cats proved much too strong and powered to a 3–19 to 1–14 victory, giving Brennan an All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship medal.

By 1976 Brennan had joined the Kilkenny under-21 team. He won his first Leinster medal that year as Kilkenny accounted for Wexford by 3–21 to 0–5. The subsequent All-Ireland final was a replay of the previous year with Cork providing the opposition once again. The Rebels made no mistake on this occasion and secured a 2–17 to 1–8 victory.

Hennessy won a second successive Leinster medal in 1977 as Wexford were downed once again on a score line of 3–11 to 1–10. Cork were once again waiting for Kilkenny in the All-Ireland decider. Having been beaten the previous year, the Cats made no mistake on this occasion and secured a narrow 2–9 to 1–9 victory giving Brennan an All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Championship medal.


Brennan made his senior championship debut on 16 July 1978 in a 2–16 to 1–5 provincial final defeat of Wexford. It was his first Leinster medal. Brennan was later dropped from the starting fifteen for the subsequent All-Ireland final against Cork on 3 September 1978. He remained on the bench for the entire game as Cork secured a 1–15 to 2–8 victory.[4][5]

After being dropped from the team in 1979, Brennan was later restored to the starting fifteen. After a fallow two-year period, Kilkenny bounced back in 1982 with Brennan winning his first National Hurling League medal following a 2–14 to 1–11 defeat of Wexford. He later added a second Leinster medal to his collection following a 1–11 to 0–12 defeat of three-in-a-row hopefuls and reigning All-Ireland champions Offaly. On 5 September 1982 Kilkenny and Cork renewed their rivalry in the All-Ireland decider. The Cats were rank outsiders on the day, however, a brilliant save by Noel Skehan was followed by two quick goals by Christy Heffernan just before the interval. Éamonn O'Donoghue pegged a goal back for Cork, however, Ger Fennelly added a third for Kilkenny who secured a 3–18 to 1–13 victory.[6] It was a first All-Ireland medal for Brennan.

Brennan won a third Leinster medal in 1983 as Offaly were accounted for by 1–17 to 0–13. The All-Ireland final on 4 September 1983 was a replay of the previous year with Cork hoping to avenge that defeat. Billy Fitzpatrick was the star with ten points, giving Kilkenny a 2–14 to 1–9 lead with seventeen minutes left, however, they failed to score for the remainder of the game. A stunning comeback by Cork just fell short and Brennan collected a second All-Ireland medal following a 2–14 to 2–12 victory.

Three-in-a-row proved beyond Kilkenny in 1984, however, Brennan's performance earned him an All-Star.

In 1986 the team bounced back with Brennan collecting a second league medal following a 2–10 to 2–6 defeat of Galway. He later collected a fourth Leinster medal following a 4–10 to 1–11 defeat of reigning champions Offaly.

Brennan won a fifth and final Leinster medal in 1987 as Offaly were downed once again by 2–14 to 0–17. On 6 September 1987 Galway, a team who were hoping to avoid becoming the first team to lose three finals in-a-row, faced a Kilkenny team who for many of its players knew it would be their last chance to claim an All-Ireland medal. Galway 'keeper John Commins saved two goal chances from Ger Fennelly, while at the other end substitute Noel Lane bagged a decisive goal as Galway claimed a 1–12 to 0–9 victory.[7]

Military career[edit]

Maj Gen Brennan meeting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

After completing his secondary education at St. Kieran's College, Brennan joined the Irish Army and was commissioned as an officer in the Infantry Corps in 1977. He has since instructed in the Military College, Defence Forces Training Centre, and served as Battalion Commander of the Third Infantry Battalion in Stephens Barracks, Kilkenny, while he also has extensive overseas experience having served twice with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in 1982 and 1997.

Brennan served as Company Commander with the 28th Infantry Group as part of a Kosovo Force (KFOR) Multinational Battalion in Kosovo in 2004 led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Four years later in 2008 he commanded the 98th Infantry Battalion with the European Union Force Chad/CAR (EUFOR) mission in Chad and in 2010 he served as Deputy Military Advisor at the Permanent Mission to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, Austria.[8]

In June 2015 it was announced that Brennan would take over as Deputy Chief of Staff Operations (D COS Ops) at Defence Forces Headquarters (DFHQ).[9]


Brennan is a graduate of the Irish Defence Forces Military College where he completed both the Junior and Senior Command and Staff Courses.

He studied Economics, Finance and Accountancy at NUI Galway, graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce (BComm) Degree.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Kieran Brennan was born in Suttonsrath, Jenkinstown, County Kilkenny in 1957. The son of Kieran Brennan (1926–1985) and Margaret "Peggy" Dalton (1931–2009), he has four brothers – Nickey, Gearóid, Canice and Paudie – and four sisters – Kathleen, Bernadette, Bridget and Marion.[11] He is married and has three children, a daughter and two sons – both sons serve in the Defence Forces.[10]

GAA honours[edit]


St. Kieran's College
Conahy Shamrocks


IRL Service Medal - gold stripe.svg Service Medal (20 years service)
IRL United Nations Peacekeepers Medal.svg United Nations Peacekeepers Medal
1916 Centenary Commemorative Medal.png 1916 Centenary Commemorative Medal
UNIFIL Ribbon bar.gif United Nations Medal for UNIFIL
NATO Medal w Służbie Pokoju i Wolności BAR.svg NATO Non-Article 5 Medal for KFOR
ESDP Medal EUFOR TCHAD-RCA ribbon bar.png Common Security and Defence Policy Service Medal for EUFOR Chad/CAR


  1. ^ Breheny, Martin (14 March 2001). "Kilkenny are the supreme champions". Irish Independent. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Bellew, Ronnie (20 July 2010). "Maher goes back to basics to farm a rich vein of form". Irish Independent. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Kieran's and the CBS the only Kilkenny winners". Kilkenny People. 25 March 2010. Archived from the original on 17 June 2015. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  4. ^ Doyle, Angela (7 August 2008). "Another exciting chapter in Kilkenny-Cork saga". Kilkenny Advertiser. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Cork's three-in-a-row 70s hurling teams honoured". Hogan Stand website. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "Power of dreams lives strong for Carrickshock". Irish Examiner. 26 October 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  7. ^ Fogarty, John (20 March 2015). "Kilkenny hurlers on the worst losing run since 1987". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Former Kilkenny hurler takes up new appointment in Defence Forces". Kilkenny People. 20 October 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  9. ^ O'Riordan, Seán (17 June 2015). "Defence Forces role for former hurler". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "DCOS Operations". Defence Forces Ireland. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  11. ^ "GAA president's mother dies suddenly". Kilkenny People. 28 January 2009. Archived from the original on 17 June 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.