Brendan Kiernan not shocked by Harrogate Town release but leaves with only fond memories
Brendan Kiernan has revealed that his release by Harrogate Town came as no surprise to him, but insists that he leaves Wetherby Road with only fond memories.
The live-wire 28-year-old attacker was one of eight out-of-contract players not to be offered a new deal by boss Simon Weaver bringing to an end his two-year stay in North Yorkshire.
Kiernan was in and out of the Sulphurites' side during 2020/21 and says he got the feeling some months ago that he wasn't going to be part of Weaver's plans moving forwards.
But, there is no bitterness from the former Crystal Palace trainee, who describes his time at the club as "special" and admits that moving on is probably in his best interests anyway as he attempts to secure more regular football.
"I'm sad to be leaving, but it's been a special time, so I'm not too sad," Kiernan told the Harrogate Advertiser.
"I sensed through the season that this was the way it was going to go.
"Obviously I wanted to be playing more. That's what I'm looking for next season, more regular football and I definitely want to stay in the Football League - it took me a long journey to get back here, so I want to hang about a bit longer.
"But, it's ended really well with the gaffer here at Harrogate. We had a really good conversation and I've always got on well with him.
"Honestly, Harrogate will always have a special place in my heart because we achieved history - two Wembley outings - with a squad of boys who I am never going to forget."
Kiernan featured 30 times in League Two throughout 2020/21, and netted four goals, while also bagging twice in the EFL Trophy.
But, only half of his league appearances came from the start and he admits that there were moments when he found himself frustrated to be warming the substitutes' bench or out of Weaver's match-day squad altogether.
A positive attitude and determination to keep working hard and showing what he was capable of did however ensure that he remained in his manager's thoughts.
"I think it is only normal to feel disappointed when you're not getting picked, that's just being a human," he added.
"But, I've tried to stay positive and not sulk and just work hard for the chance to show what I could do.
"I think I've always just tried to do well with whatever opportunities I have been given. Whatever opportunity I have been given, hopefully I've given a good account of myself.
"You have to remember that we've got a really talented squad, so I've just had to be patient sometimes.
"And, being patient is part of your attitude and so is being happy for the other boys when the team is doing well even if you're not playing. That's important because you're always part of it, even when you're not in the team yourself."
A 23-minute hat-trick during Town's 5-4 victory over title-chasing Cambridge United in what was the Sulphurites' final home fixture of the campaign saw Kiernan make history, while also presenting his manager with a real headache in terms of whether to make that offer of a new deal.
And the ex-AFC Wimbledon man says that his Wetherby Road treble is something that he will never forget.
"I didn't ever think I'd be getting promoted to League Two and become the first player to score an EFL hat-trick for the club when I first arrived here, it has just been an amazing period in my career, really special," Kiernan said.
"The hat-trick is the highlight. It's a piece of history for me, it's something that I will never forget and is also something to leave the fans with.
"All the boys signed the match-ball from that game and I'll put it somewhere nice in the house one day."