Thursday 29 September 2016

Comment: If this was Alan Brogan’s final bow, it carried all the cut-above class that he has made his trademark

Published 20/09/2015 | 18:51

Dublin players Bernard Borgan, Alan Brogan, top, and Kevin McManamon celebrate with the Sam Maguire cup following their side's victory
Dublin players Bernard Borgan, Alan Brogan, top, and Kevin McManamon celebrate with the Sam Maguire cup following their side's victory

AFTER the deluge, came the most glorious cloudburst of emotion, a monsoon of elation from Dublin’s timeless, transcendent senior citizen.

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Alan Brogan, deep into his 34th year, a giant of the city, a hall of famer destined to be chiselled onto football’s Mount Rushmore, gambolled towards the Hill’s navy tsunami like a giddy colt released onto the gallops for the first time.

Unable to contain his elation, the eternal forward whooped, fist-pumped, trampolined off the sodden turf, adrenalin coursing through his suddenly young-again frame. 

History, the majesty of achievement, had kidnapped his senses; the Navan Road ancient was – momentarily – Lord GAA GAA.

20 September 2015; Dublin's Alan Brogan, left, and Michael Darragh MacAuley celebrates after the final whistle. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Dublin's Alan Brogan, left, and Michael Darragh MacAuley celebrates after the final whistle. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Dublin's Cian O'Sullivan celebrates with the Sam Maguire cup following his side's victory. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Dublin players Bernard Borgan, Alan Brogan, top, and Kevin McManamon celebrate with the Sam Maguire cup following their side's victory. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Paul Flynn, Dublin, celebrates his side's victory. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Cian O'Sullivan, Dublin, celebrates at the end of the game. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Dublin's Jonny Cooper, left, and Stephen Cluxton following their side's victory. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Dublin manager Jim Gavin is congratulated by Seamus McCormack after the final whistle. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Dublin's James McCarthy, left, Diarmuid Connolly, and Cian O'Sullivan, right, celebrates after the final whistle. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; A view of the pre-match parade. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Paul Flynn, Dublin, celebrates his side's victory. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Peter Crowley, Kerry, is tackled by Diarmuid Connolly, Dublin. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Diarmuid Connolly, Dublin, celebrates his side's victory. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton lifts the Sam Maguire cup. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Denis Bastick, Dublin, celebrates his side's victory. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Dublin manager Jim Gavin is congratulated by Seamus McCormack after the final whistle. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Dublin captain Stephen Cluxton is congratultaed by Martin Kennedy, Head of Athletic Development, Dublin, at the end of the game. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Dublin players and supporters celebrate as Stephen Cluxton lifts the Sam Maguire. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: D?ire Brennan / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Alan Brogan and Kevin McManamon, Dublin, celebrate at the end of the game. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Dublin manager Jim Gavin and goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton following their side's victory. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 September 2015; Dublin's Paddy Andrews celebrates with the Sam Maguire cup after the game with teammate John Small. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Final, Dublin v Kerry, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

His orchestra reacted immediately, instinctively:  A rapturous crescendo of joy bellowed from the steepled masses.

Read more: Dublin's James McCarthy: We were called cowards and bottlers last year.. we answered them

Read more: Five things we learned from Dublin's All Ireland win over Kerry

Here at the end of the September Road was the city gifting its acoustics to one of its chosen sons.

It had the feel of farewell to an immortal, and if this was Brogan’s final bow it carried all the cut-above class that he has made his trademark.

Brogan did not enter the battlefield until the 66th minute, yet, a fast-working tattoo artist, he etched his initials artistically, indelibly into the flood.

A light shining in the murk, his glorious point – giving Dublin a four point cushion – seconds after his introduction was a moment of order, of calm in the biblical anarchy.

It was a remnant from his golden years, a reminder of a contribution beyond price to the Three Castles.

In the closing moments he was the field-marshal dictating strategy, serene in the storm, poised even as the bullets whistled about his head.

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If Brogan is an enduring miracle, Brian Fenton and Ciaran Kilkenny have hardly completed their apprenticeship in front of the shaving mirror.

Yet here they were critical in shearing down Kerry. Both embraced responsibility like it was a long lost love.

Fenton, completed his rookie season with a performance of authority, bite and remarkable maturity; he outshone the Player of the Year favourite David Moran, infused Dublin’s midfield with a beyond-his-years wisdom.

Kilkenny has the perfect surname:  He shares the DNA as well as a moniker with Brian Cody’s storied stickmen.

He brings a selflessness, a game-intelligence, an ability to adjust to the needs of the team; he is Dublin’s quarter-back, the link-man; he is also just 22.

A cub who is already leader of the pack. 

No player seized the title deeds to this contest as Croke Park was transformed by the power-shower downpour into Skid Row.

This was largely a day for unsung heroes.   The artisan workhorse Denis Bastick; all those indispensable defensive cogs:  Johnny Cooper and Rory O’Carroll; the twin Ballymun towers, James McCarthy and Philly McMahon.

Paul Flynn exhibited the mental steel to recover from an inexplicable miss to kick two priceless scores; Diarmuid Connolly allied superior swagger with a relentless work ethic.

Paddy Andrews, Bernard Brogan ran until their lungs burned and their legs wobbled.

And, of course, there is another quiet man at the heart of this blue wave.

At the final whistle Jim Gavin, the understated pilot of an epic voyage, raised his right fist towards the darkening sky.

Gavin receives but a tiny fraction of the credit for his stunning body of work:  Eight major trophies from nine contested; here he was equalling the city father Kevin Heffernan’s two All-Irelands in three years.

As he looked all about him, savouring the moment, Bagatelle’s Summer in Dublin burst from the speakers.

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