BERNARD BROGAN will spend the early part of the spring on the sidelines after confirming that he won’t return to action for the All-Ireland champions until at least March.
It’s almost 10 months since Brogan picked up the same osteitis pubis injury that ruined his brother Alan’s 2013 season and the former Footballer of the Year says he’ll ensure he’s fully fit before returning to action in 2014.
Last year, Bernard was quickly out of the traps, playing a full part from early in the season, but after lining out for 11 consecutive weekends, he paid for his enthusiasm, breaking down with the over-use injury after the league semi-final win over Mayo.
From there, his form suffered, with some uncharacteristically poor kicking – a direct result of the injury – contributing to a frustrating start to his championship campaign. But as the criticism of his form began, Brogan kept his counsel.
“That’s part and parcel of it,” Brogan said of the criticism at the launch of the Red Bull Wings for Life run, which takes place in 40 countries.
“I thought I played well during the league but I just broke down and then kind of lost
momentum and I couldn’t find it. But it’s the challenge I had. The leg wasn't really bad but I was carrying it a bit.
“The thing was, I wasn’t able to go out and practise my kicking, which I usually do twice a week as well as training, and I wasn’t able to get out and get my eye in. That’s what really affected me.”
Surgery before Christmas and a comprehensive rehabilitation programme means Brogan won’t see any league action until at least the third round, when the defending champions Dubs welcome Cork to Croke Park on March 1.
After witnessing Alan’s experience with the injury that saw him abort a number of comebacks, he’s reluctant to put any definitive time frame on when he’ll return to the side.
“It’s the exact same situation (as Alan) so I have his guidance,” said Bernard. “He went through it and he had a couple of breakdowns throughout his comeback. He knows what needs to be done.
“I have him there and the medical team have seen it all through him so I’m in good hands.
“I’m just rehabbing it now. I’m still building up the groin and the ab muscles and the core. It’s reacting
really well. Every week I’m just stepping it up and hopefully I’ll be back on the pitch and out with the lads in the next couple of weeks.
“The last four years have been long years for Dublin. We’ve been in the semi-finals or finals (of the All-Ireland) for the last four years. You start training at the end of December or the start of January so you run through until September and then you’ve got club football. We’ve had some good years with them in the past as well.
“So we’ve had a lot of long years and it does take a toll on the body.”
Brogan also revealed that Alan has returned to collective training with the Dubs and believes that having not played a minute in the championship last year, his brother has some “unfinished business” as they look to equal their father’s haul of three All-Ireland medals. Alan played a starring role as Oliver Plunkett's captured the Dublin Senior B title.
“I’m not going to speak for him but we’re hoping he’ll make the call,” Bernard said. “He’s been out at training already so he could be in the shout for the coming league games. But that’s the decision he has to make.
“I felt very sorry for him (last year). He’s given so much to the Dublin jersey over 10 years. He has carried a lot of it on his own. And then when other lads came in to give him a hand, he wasn’t there in one of the years he would have loved to have been there.
“He was there on the pitch and he enjoyed it but it’s just not the same when you’re not playing. I would say deep down in himself that he will feel there is unfinished business and we hope he’ll want to put it right.”
l Bernard Brogan was speaking at the launch of the Wings for Life World Run, which will take place on May 4 when up to 150,000 people will race simultaneously in as many as 40 different countries around the world.