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Brogan weighing up options despite his brutal cruciate misfortune


CRUCIATE: Bernard Brogan. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

CRUCIATE: Bernard Brogan. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

CRUCIATE: Bernard Brogan. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Jim Gavin's next public appearance will be on February 24 in Castlebar, a fixture that doesn't usually lack by way of post-match topics for the Dublin manager to discuss.

Yet regardless of what happens when football's most endearing rivalry sparks up once more, Gavin will be shelled with questions about Bernard Brogan afterwards.

Currently, the player and his manager are in the limbo of option consideration. If Brogan goes immediately under the knife to have his torn ACL repaired, he will be out of football until after Dublin's quest for a fourth All-Ireland title on the spin has resolved.

He is painfully familiar with the lonely, laborious cruciate rehabilitation process.

Brogan suffered an ACL tear in 2004 at just 20, an injury he later acknowledged delayed his emergence as a Dublin senior footballer.

Unlike now, however, Brogan had time in his corner.

Already, Brogan is older than his brother, Alan, was when he retired after Dublin's 2015 All-Ireland glory.

A cruciate operation and the associated slog would take him close to his 35th birthday by the time he would be physically able to play for Dublin again.

On Saturday night in Croke Park, in a match Brogan was named to start but replaced was by Paddy Andrews before throw-in, Paddy Small made his League debut for Dublin and Colm Basquel underlined his potential as a Championship 2018 forward.

Last year, Con O'Callaghan made a seisimic impact in the same line, Paul Mannion won his first All Star and Dean Rock underpinned his importance, not just as the best freetaker in Ireland, but as a prolific scorer of important goals.

And in what was the second consecutive All-Ireland final Brogan started on the bench, Eoghan O'Gara was preferred as a 'bolter' by Gavin, despite the very obvious and stated effort the 2010 Footballer of the Year had made last year to lose weight and become a quicker, more nimble Bernard Brogan than before.

A near full season out injured as the men who once wanted to be Bernard Brogan skip past him in the long and snaking queue of Dublin inside forwards is not what he needs now. Thus, 'Option 'B' may be the more desirable recourse.


Last year, Michael Darragh Macauley suffered an injury similar in nature to Brogan some time after Dublin's League final loss to Kerry on April 9.

Rather than going under the knife, Macauley sought advice from figures from different sports who forewent the operation and instead, established stability in his injured knee by building up the muscles around the joint.

By August 9, Macauley was deemed suitably repaired to make an appearance off the bench against Monaghan in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

That he has started Dublin's first three games of this year's League indicates that both Macauley and Gavin are optimistic that his knee can hold out the entire year.

Kieran McGeeney and Ronan O'Gara are two other players who took this course of action successfully, but it is not an exact science and it doesn't work for everybody.

It is over five months until the first of the three 'Super Eight' games Dublin will play on consecutive weekends - assuming they qualify, a run of fixtures that will force Gavin to plunge deeper into his squad than in any other year during his reign.

The increased volume of significant fixtures means that regardless of his lavish and elaborate array of current options, Gavin could do with a forward of Brogan's guile at the back end of the summer.

On December 28, Brogan tweeted a picture of himself at a gym in Castleknock dressed in training gear, already beginning preparations to win back a regular place for the 2018 season.

No doubt that the news he has received will come as a brutal blow for the St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh star but it's unlikely Brogan will accept his season is over without first exhausting every existing option.