By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – The Marlboro Shamrocks football team played an important part in the sports scene in the city for many years. It all started in 1965 when the Shamrocks were part of the Eastern Football League. In 1990, Bob Brennan, a local athlete became head coach and the Shamrocks zoomed into high visibility and won many championships under his outstanding leadership.
“I played football locally, coached at the high school level and when I was approached to coach the Shamrocks I accepted the challenge and enjoyed every minute of it,” said Brennan. “Bob Kays owned the team and it was great working with him and Lou Ghiloni. Ralph Grasso was the general manager and was very good guiding me and our great assisting staff.”
Kays, owner of the Prospector East Saloon on Lincoln Street in Marlborough, sponsored the Shamrocks for 28 years. He worked closely with Brennan and admired and respected his many talents.
“We won 13 Eastern Football League championships and seven National League Football championships, due largely to Bob,” he said. “He was truly dedicated to the Shamrocks, had excellent recruiting skills, as well as coaching talent and had a love for the sport. He was fantastic and brought us many years of enjoyment and good sportsmanship.”
People are Brennan’s passion – whether on the sports field or interacting with city leaders. In 1969 he was elected to the Marlborough School Committee and served for 18 years.
“I served with some great mayors – Fred Cole, Edgar Gadbois, Frank Kelleher, Joe Ferrecchia, and Kuson Haddad,” he said. “I was on the City Council in 1984-85, representing Ward 2. It felt very good being a part of this great city and doing whatever I could to give back all it has given me and my family.”
Brennan is a lifetime resident of Marlborough, educated in local schools. He has been married to his wife, Vangie, for 55 years, and has a son, Robert Jr., and daughter, Maureen. Although he retired from coaching in 2003, at age 79, Brennan is still very active – he is employed part-time at St. Mark’s School in Southborough, maintaining the golf course there and enjoying playing on the greens in his off hours. He continues his passion for football by attending Marlborough High School games and cheering on local students.