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Brogans crave breakthrough

TOMORROW, the Plunkett's and Brigid's folk will awake with a smile.

The big day will have dawned. Derby delight. Brigid's v Plunkett's in the Evening Herald Dublin Senior Football Championship final at Parnell Park (3.30).

A day to take in a deep breath and appreciate the view. A reason to dance at the crossroads of the Navan Road.

Bernard Brogan senior will be fully embracing the moment. The result, of course, will determine the mood, as it always does.



SCENERY

But it is also important to enjoy the occasion. To take in the scenery. After all, county final appearances don't come free with every packet of Kellogg's cornflakes.

"It's a big occasion for us," muses Bernard, the Plunkett's selector. "We have only been in one final before.

"We have been playing senior football since 1975, so that's a fair few years. In my own time as a player, I only reached one senior semi-final. I was playing for Dublin at the time, but we met Ballymun Kickhams in the semi-final. They had a class side. Fellas like Barney Rock and John Kearns. "I think it was played in Croke Park before a National League fixture. In those days, the National League ran all the way from October through the winter.

"We played well enough. It was close on the scoreboard, but it was one of those days when Ballymun were always on top.

"And they went on to achieve so much success.

"Reaching the county semi-final final was such a huge thing for the club at the time.

"It was our biggest day aside from winning the Intermediate Championship, which was also so significant.

"The club championship is so special. It's one thing playing for your county, but the club is at the heart of it all.

"The club lads train all year to try and win a county championship. And then they are joined by the inter-county fellas. I think that's marvellous. That's the secret of the GAA. The club is always the number one." Bernard's son, Paul, knows there's one subject dominating the chat around the firesides of Plunkett's and Brigid's this week.



HYPE

"Our job is to stay away from all the hype," states Paul. "Our priority is to focus on our preparations and to make sure we give a performance.

"We have been a bit unlucky in the last few years. We'll try our best again, and hopefully things might work out. But it's going to be tough. The Dublin Championship is getting harder to win every year. There's new teams coming up all the time.

"Look at Lucan against us in last weekend's semi-final. They are such a fine side.

"People underestimate them. They have a lot of good young fellas, and we just about managed to overcome them."

Paul's brother, Bernard junior, says that the Lucan match was the perfect way to enter the final. "It was a great test to get. You never get anything easy against Lucan," reflected Bernard.



TUSSLE

And it was the same for Brigid's against Ballymun. A tussle that Bernard junior kept a close eye on.

"It is going to be a difficult game. There will certainly be nothing easy, but, from our point of view, it's great to be back in the final."

Young Bernard can see the big picture.

"Dublin football is on a high at the moment, and I felt the quality of football in this year's championship was really good.

"And it is going to get better and better.

"We are getting such a wonderful reaction from the kids as we go around all the schools with Sam.



IMPROVE

"Hopefully from that, more and more children will get involved in football. That will only improve Dublin GAA into the future.

"It would be fantastic if we could make Dublin a super-power in club and county."

In Parnell Park on Sunday, all ages will be cheering on the Supermen of Plunkett's and Brigid's.

And the great man himself, Bernard senior, will be living every second.

He achieved it all -- All-Ireland winner, All-Star and even RTé Superstar.

He also scored one of the iconic goals of the magical Dublin v Kerry era (1977 All-Ireland SFC semi-final) that inspired Micheal O Hehir's famous line about how the man who was drilling for oil had drilled the ball into the back of the Kerry net.



MARCHING

At the time, Bernard was working as a Site Engineer on an oil rig in Cherbourg.

But the chance of marching behind the band on county final day managed to elude his grasp.

That's why he says that the Plunkett's and Brigid's lads should be thanking their lucky stars that the honour, and expectation, is resting on their shoulders.

In the meantime, he is hoping that his beloved St Oliver Plunkett's can make that one giant step, or as the old Saw Doctors hit put it -- "to win just once".


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