Brogan coy on 2014

Star forward stresses he will only play if 'fully able to commit'

Conor McKeon

IDEALLY Alan Brogan will play at least one more season for Dublin but he admits that inter-county retirement is now a very real option and his future involvement is exclusively at the mercy of his own body.

Brogan, clearly, has closely examined his options and the prospect of retirement from Dublin duty after a dozen seasons and two All-Ireland medals is one he is actively considering.

If, however, he receives a clear fitness prognosis and is physically capable of absorbing a season of full training, the 2011 Footballer of the Year insists he will contribute to the Dublin quest to retain Sam Maguire next year.

"If I am going back, it's important that I'm fully able to commit to it training-wise because I don't think I'd do myself justice dipping in and out," Brogan reasoned.

"It's important that if I do go back, I can give it a full lash with the training and I don't have to be minding myself.

"The days of minding yourself and being able to play properly at county level, particularly the level we want to play at, are gone."

He accepts that "ideally", his Dublin career would not end in the frustration of the past two injury-wrecked seasons.

Brogan's most recent match day involvement with Dublin are as an unused substitute in this year's All-Ireland final and his hobbling off in last year's semi-final defeat to Mayo after the inflammation of an osteitis pubis injury which has haunted Brogan, just minutes after coming on.

"It hasn't worked out well over the last couple of years and it would be sad to walk away with those two years behind me, particularly after 2011," he admits. "So I just need to make sure I'm able for the demands, that I'm not just going in there training and having to take the next session off.

"I don't think that's a runner at all. It would just be frustrating for me. So I'm going to take the next few weeks and make sure I'm able to train properly."

Either way, the decision will be made after St Oliver Plunkett's/ER's involvement in this year's Dublin SFC 'B' involvement and in close proximity to the beginning of next season, in enough time to embrace the January slog, provided his various niggles have cleared.

"I have been training with the club intermittently for the last six or eight weeks and played a couple of games," Brogan says, insisting he hasn't had any recent problems with the injury. "It's been okay, thank God. No real reaction bar the obvious stiffness. We'd a couple of training sessions on all-weather pitches and they wouldn't suit it. It gets sore after that obviously with a lot of heavy running. That's a consideration when you're going into January and training three or four times a week to get that bank of fitness into you."


Despite Dublin winning this year's All-Ireland title without a single minute's contribution from Brogan, he reckons "there's certainly still a role for me there," though he's not entirely sure what that entails.

"Whether it's a starting position or coming in as a sub it doesn't really matter the way Jim's set up the team over the last year. I don't know but he's probably used five subs in every game."

In his absence, Ciarán Kilkenny thrived as Dublin's new playmaker but even then, Brogan played a helping hand.

"Certainly with Ciarán I would have considering he was playing in the same position but you try and pass on what you can. Ciarán is his own player but he is very receptive.

"How good he can become is sometimes dictated by how good the team is around him but he has all the attributes to make one of the best players that has ever played with Dublin.

"For himself and Jack (McCaffrey) to come in at 19 and play such an integral part in Dublin winning an All-Ireland, you sometimes take for granted that they are only 19. But they played a huge part this year and they have huge futures ahead of them."

And of the commencement of the hunt for a third All-Ireland in four years, a haul that would put this Dublin team on a par with Mickey Harte's Tyrone, Brogan reckons: "Pat Gilroy had been there for three years at that stage so maybe there was a feeling that that's it, we've achieved it now. I think with Jim it's different in that it's his first year of a three-year term.

"He was lucky enough to win it in his first year, and I think he'll park it once the lads come back from (team holiday) Cancun, focusing on next year then.

"I think the whole thing of Sam Maguire has to be parked too, it can become a distraction for fellas.

"It can be draining too so it's important that fellas get a rest over in Cancun, rest up over Christmas when they get home, and then get ready for 2014," Brogan concluded.