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Gavin: Brogan back on track


Dublin's Alan Brogan. Picture: Tomas Greally/SPORTSFILE

Dublin's Alan Brogan. Picture: Tomas Greally/SPORTSFILE

Dublin's Alan Brogan. Picture: Tomas Greally/SPORTSFILE

JIM GAVIN has suggested that Alan Brogan is nearing a return to fitness although the Dublin manager stopped shy of setting a definite comeback date.

Speaking at a press briefing this morning ahead of Saturday's Leinster SFC opener with Westmeath in Croke Park (7.0), the Dublin boss explained that Brogan was "not in full contact yet in the internal games, but he is not far off," adding that it was "looking promising," for the 2011 Footballer of the Year in his bid to beat the osteitis pubis injury which has dogged him for the last year.

"Alan is back training," he revealed. "Anybody there Tuesday night would have seen him running around the field looking very spritely. He is back on track and hopefully we will see him put on a Dublin jersey later in the summer."

Brogan is one of only two players definitely out of the selection equation as Gavin finalises his maiden Championship selection as Dublin manager (hamstring victim Kevin McManamon is the other) although he does have doubts over Kevin O'Brien - who was being tipped to make his Leinster SFC debut - and Declan O'Mahony, with management set to announce the chosen 15 after training tonight.

Of the selection process, Gavin explained that he was putting greater stock in recent performances from training matches rather than relying solely on League form in formulating his starting team. "That is really the benchmark at the moment. Some players have come back into form who might not have had that form during the league and that is great to see and the real cut and trust in the squad sessions and we are basing it really on who is performing well in those internal games."

Reacting to last week's comments from Ciarán Kilkenny that he would attempt to combine both hurling and football at senior inter-county level next year, a scenario which was not accommodated this year after his return from Australia.

Gavin explained, however, that the player and management will revisit the situation before the beginning of next season.

"When we sat down this year and looked at the commitments that were required for the Dublin senior football team, after coming back from Australia, he just needed to focus on football. That was his choice.



"We take a very player-sensitive approach to how we manage them and it's really what the players want. And we will look at that with the players next season," explained Gavin who added that Kilkenny and fellow dual players Cormac Costello and Eric Lowndes will all be released to play with the Dublin U-21 hurlers this year.

"We will try and facilitate that as best we can.

"Their priority is Dublin senior football and there is a round of Championship quite soon so they have been training away with the hurlers and they will continue to do so."

A crowd of less than 40,000 is anticipated for Saturday's double-header (Kildare v Offaly, 5.0; Dublin v Westmeath, 7.0). Tickets are on sale at www.tickets.ie and also from the GAA Ticket Office, 53A Lower Dorset St, Dublin 1 (10.0–5.0 until tomorrow afternoon).