ALAN BROGAN has revealed the mindset of the Dublin dressing-room ahead of last weekend's tour de force against Tyrone, admitting they were probably more "hoping" than believing they were about to topple the former All-Ireland champions.
But Dublin's late scoring salvo to secure a five-point victory and a place in the last-four has catapulted the Sky Blues right back into the All-Ireland mix.
Brogan, for so long on the wrong end of painful defeats to both Tyrone and Kerry, described the feeling in those closing stages as "pure ecstasy", but he has also called on his teammates to view their quarter-final success as "just another step."
"It's probably more than we expected ourselves, given the way that we had been going earlier in the summer and Tyrone had been so impressive against Monaghan," the two-time All Star conceded.
"We were hoping deep down that we could put it up to them, but we were kind of thinking that just putting in a decent performance would have been progress.
"As things turned out we went hell for leather -- then, thank God, we managed to sneak it in the end. We were probably hoping that we would win rather than believing we would.
"It's not a great thing to be saying but the way we had been going, all the new guys we had on board ... if it had been anyone else but Tyrone, we probably would have expected a win. But they'd been brilliant in the Ulster final and it looked like it might be a game too far for us."
Brogan continued: "We knew that we were going to go out, give it a lash and work as hard as we could. And when we did that, we seemed to match them. They probably weren't expecting it to be so tight, and that might have thrown them as the game went on."
Reflecting on how Dublin haven't beaten a "top three or four side" for a number of years, he concluded that last Saturday must be regarded as "the biggest win we've had" since the All-Ireland final in 1995. "But hopefully it's only another step along the way," he added.
Brogan has also reflected on his own 50th minute substitution -- a move that surprised many onlookers as the player had scored one point and created another in the minutes beforehand. Manager Pat Gilroy later put him back on for the last five minutes.
"Maybe I had tired a bit. But I thought I was going well enough. Nobody likes being taken off and I'm the same at this stage of my career," the long-serving forward remarked.
"But it's not about me. As long as we win the match, I'm willing to do what has to be done. It didn't bother me in the slightest, and that's being honest. When I was walking off, Pat told me to stay warm in case I was needed to go back on. But he wasn't promising anything.
"Then Mickey Whelan asked me if I was tired and I told him I wasn't. But I've watched the match back a couple of times and maybe I was. There were a few times that I was down on my hunkers getting a breather."
The St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh clubman described the moment when he won a late free in front of Hill 16 -- captured in photograph -- as "pure ecstasy", adding: "I knew that we were finally going to get this Tyrone monkey off our back. It was especially great for the guys that have been there for six, seven, eight years and have never won a game like that, never beaten a Tyrone or a Kerry."
He confirmed that the Dublin dressing-room was "buzzing" after Dublin's five-point victory but he warned that they must "look at it as just another step" -- even though the shock exits of both Kerry and Tyrone on the same afternoon has through the race for Sam Maguire wide open.
Brogan knew that Kerry were six or seven points down with a few minutes remaining, but he didn't know the final result when Dublin took the field.
"It had no bearing on the way we were feeling anyway. It didn't give us any extra incentive or anything like that. To be honest, having seen both teams play this summer, we were more fearful or Tyrone than Kerry."