BARNEY ROCK believes that a fit Bernard Brogan performing to the top of his ability remains key to Dublin's ambitions this summer.
The 2010 footballer of the year was hauled off by manager Jim Gavin with 22 minutes remaining of last Sunday's win over Kildare, a decision Kerry legend and Irish Independent columnist Eoin Liston called into question.
Brogan was also taken off with the league final in the balance – Rock's son Dean replaced him and made a match-winning impact as the Dubs claimed the title.
However, Rock Snr believes that injury may have played a part in Gavin's decision last weekend and remains convinced that Brogan will be key to the Dubs' hopes.
"Bernard has been the footballer of the year for the past couple of years and we won't win an All-Ireland without Bernard. It's as simple as that," he said yesterday.
"Possibly he could have been carrying an injury into the match against Kildare. I don't think he trained a hell of a lot over the last few weeks and there was no point in the Dublin management team leaving him out there on the pitch with the game won."
While impressed with the Dubs' second 16-point victory of this year's Leinster campaign, Rock has warned that bigger tests await them.
"We've been here before in the sense that we've 'won' All-Irelands in June and July, but it's actually what happens in August and September which is the most important thing," he said.
"In 2009, we were playing Kerry in the quarter-final and thought we were going to blow Kerry out of the water because we walked away with the Leinster Championship. All of a sudden everything blew up in smoke as Kerry ended up beating us by 17 points.
"I'm sure it's in the back of players' minds about winning things, and they certainly look good at the minute, but the management will be taking nothing for granted.
"Jim Gavin, Mick Deegan and Declan Darcy have been through it. They know what it's like playing against Meath in a Leinster final and they're taking things game by game."