“We had camoflage on our faces and my Mam was just looking at me wondering what was going on”

Oscar Brennan

Ahead of the big kick-off against Shamrock Rovers at Dalymount Park on February 16, Bohemians midfielder Oscar Brennan takes bohemianfc.com behind the scenes as the team and management prepare for the 2018 season.

This is the fourth and final instalment of Oscar’s pre-season diary.

Picture the scene; Dinny Corcoran is skinning a rabbit, Dan Casey is down by the river gutting a fish and somewhere in the forest Kev Devaney and Jamie Hamilton are foraging for fire-wood on a wet day in the Wicklow mountains.

Welcome to pre-season, 2018.

The weather was horrendous, rain, sleet and bitterly.


We’ve been working hard on the pitch and in the gym, but last Saturday week we were taken out of our comfort zone at Basecamp East, about 15 minutes beyond Enniskerry.

It was a tough day, it wasn’t about fitness but team-work and bonding.

We arrived at 9.30am for a 9.50 start and as soom as the army lads came up over the hill they were screaming at us, screaming at Detser (Derek Pender) to get us in line. As the captain, that was his job. Otherwise we were down for 10 press-ups.

It was serious, they replicated what life was like in the army for us.

We were trekking with these big, massive bags up and down hills, treading through ice-cold rivers and then we’d to set up our own camps.

We were given these sheets to attach to trees, we’d to skin a rabbit and a fish – at least we didn’t have to catch them!

We didn’t eat in the end, we couldn’t get the fire started.

They just said ‘that’s the reality of army life, if you don’t get it started you don’t eat.

You’re so tired by the end of it, the army lads were putting pressure on purposely to see how you react.

There was no room for whinging and moaning, if you just looked at them everyone was down for 10 press ups and what was worse was if you were the one who caused the press-ups, you didn’t do them, you counted them out for everyone else just so everyone hated you that little bit more.

We realised quickly enough after some shock treatment, Detser just had a word and said: ‘look,lads, today is not going to be fun. Just get on with it and let’s just get through it’.

It was a long day, I couldn’t even speak when I got home I was that drained. We had camoflage on our faces and my Mam was just looking at me wondering what was going on.

Detser went and picked one of his kids up from their gymnastics class and the whole class stopped and was looking at the fella with the camo on his face.

You go through what we took out of that day and the skills that are transferable from army life into football – team-work, motivation, trust, leadership and what you would want from the person beside you if you were going to war with them.

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