Brogans hope to bring it all back home
THE advice is simple: "Go out and enjoy it. Do the best you can and don't leave anything behind you. I hope they win, obviously." That is what the All-Ireland-winning father of the Dublin stars, the Brogan brothers, has told them.
Bernard Snr, an All-Star winner with Dublin in the 1970s, is fully aware of the pressure that will be weighing on the shoulders of all three sons -- Alan, Bernard and substitute Paul -- as they jog on to the pitch at Croke Park tomorrow.
"There are huge expectations. Dublin hasn't been to an All-Ireland final in the last 16 years," he told the Irish Independent.
"I've never seen the kids play in an All-Ireland, so I'm excited for them. For Kerry, it is a big plus -- they are used to the pressure and the build-up."
From an early age, there would be small hurleys and footballs being kicked around the Brogans' house in Castleknock, Dublin.
"He (Bernard Snr) was training and Alan used to go down training. Then Alan joined a little team himself and Bernard started training the seniors. It just kind of happened," said their mother Maria, who is from Listowel, Co Kerry.
"It is no accident that kids like certain sports. In the sense the kids were involved all the time when they were young," Bernard Snr said during the week as the countdown got under way.
He recalls having to persuade Alan the child to continue playing during a game to ensure that he didn't let the team down as he was being targeted for abuse during the match.
Now, more than a decade later, Bernard Snr joked that there was no more space left on the mantlepiece in the family home, with the collection of All-Star awards.
Tomorrow, from their seats at the Canal End, Bernard and Maria -- accompanied by around 40 of their extended family -- will finally get to watch their boys in an All-Ireland for the first time.