Sunday 28 December 2014

Keeping it in the Brogan family

Dublin star Bernard Brogan at the launch of the county's new jersey yesterday
Dublin star Bernard Brogan at the launch of the county's new jersey yesterday
Dublin forward Bernard Brogan
10/11/13 Bernard Brogan and Kiera Doyle at the Dublin Senior Football All Ireland medal presentation dinner at the Convention centre. Picture:Arthur Carron/Collins
8/11/13 Bernard Brogan and Ciara Doyle at the Opel GAA/GPA All-Star Awards 2013 in Croke Park, Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron/Collins
Bernard Brogan, Dublin, lifts the Sam Maguire cup. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.
Bernard Brogan and his parents in Kerry for the lights coming on.

Bernard Brogan talks about the highs and lows of life as an All-Ireland winning Dublin GAA star and the pressures involved in living up to such a rich family legacy

'MAM and Dad were always at the side of the pitch, and it was something you'd notice as there were only ever about three sets of parents there.

"Some people use football as a babysitting service, sending their child there on a Saturday morning and enjoying the break until they got home in the afternoon, but the people who progress to the heights are usually the ones who have their parents there, supporting them.

"I'd be a firm believer in parents getting behind their children and going out to watch them play."

I'm at the Foundry at Google Ireland, having tea with Dublin GAA star, Bernard Brogan, who is helping to launch the Irish leg of the Wings for Life World Run.

Five thousand Irish runners will take part in the Irish leg of the race around the Ring of Kerry in May, joining thousands of runners from all around the world at the very same time, and all proceeds will go to spinal cord research, as the event is sponsored by Red Bull.

"I try and keep fit when I'm not training and get involved in runs," he says. "I am more of a short sprinter though, as any of the lads will tell you, but it sounds great fun as once the 'chase car' catches up with you on the run, your race is over."

The name Brogan has become synonymous with Dublin GAA, as Bernard's dad, Bernard senior, is a former three-time All-Ireland winner, while his uncle Jim won two championships.

His older brother Alan and younger brother Paul have also played for the Dubs, as has his cousin and business partner, James Brogan.

It was lucky therefore that Bernard's mother Maria, a Kerrywoman, is a "mad sports fan", given the amount of time she has spent freezing on the sidelines.

Bernard grew up in Castleknock and attended St Declan's College on the Navan Road. As well as football, he was involved in soccer, swimming, and table tennis -- anything to get a class off, he laughs.

Mind you, he says that he was reasonably smart at school, and went on to study finance at Maynooth University on a GAA scholarship. His brother Alan had done the same course, so he passed on his notes, which was handy.

So did he get on well with his brothers growing up? "We never really fought," he says. "We had the odd little spat, but we never beat the heads off one another like lots of other brothers."

Bernard was pretty well-behaved growing up as he had some serious goals in mind. He wanted to play football, and also had an entrepreneurial streak and dreamed of opening his own business.

While that sounds like it was all very smooth, Bernard is the first to admit he had a challenging time initially, as while he made the team at 21, he spent three years on the bench.

"Alan came in at 18 and played with the minors and kind of played on, whereas I had a bumpy road," he admits. "I had a cruciate ligament injury when I was 20, and I had to prove to the managers that I was good enough to play, but it probably helped me in the long run."

Given the family he grew up in, was there a bit of pressure to carry on the family name and his father's legacy?

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