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'It's a feeling I've never felt before, I wanted to soak up every second'

TEN years since making his Dublin debut, Alan Brogan finally went and tasted the sweetest victory of them all. A decade of service in blue and nothing but a couple of All Stars and seven Leinster medals to adorn the mantelpiece, a bounty in some eyes but missing the vital component.

Yesterday, he got his hands on Sam Maguire and most likely, will succeed his little brother as Footballer of the Year, against Kerry of all teams -- the birthplace of his mother and the source of endless summer slagging in his youth.

Sweet as a nut, you might say.

"There is a sense of relief," he reflected somewhat understatedly, but also honestly. "Of course there were times over the last three or four years where the likes of myself, Barry Cahill, Stephen Cluxton and Paul Casey thought we might never win an All-Ireland.

"But since Pat has come in and these young guys, these young guys don't carry any baggage with them. Playing against Kerry doesn't faze them as it might have fazed us four or five years ago and I think that has been the difference in pushing us over the line."

Now, Marie Brogan has three more All-Ireland medals to adorn the mantelpiece alongside Bernard Senior's.

For Bernard the younger's part, he took the accolade awarded to the finest footballer in the country last year but yesterday, on one of his less spectacular days, he collected the Holy Grail.

"It can't get any better than that," he insisted. "You couldn't write it in a fairytale. I'm just thrilled and I'm delighted now that me Da has a bit of bragging rights now when he is going down to Kerry. He has been a long time taking abuse."

Brogan was one of four players who stayed in the middle of the pitch long after the final whistle drinking in the success and the satisfaction.

"I didn't know where I was," he admitted. "The emotion just took over. I had to ask someone who scored the last point. I couldn't understand what had happened. It's a feeling I never felt before, obviously. It's an incredible feeling. They had to pull me off the pitch there. The stewards were asking us to leave. I was sitting in the centre-circle and I didn't want to leave. I wanted to soak up every second of it.

"I'm just delighted for Alan who has given 10 years of trojan work and he must be in line for Footballer of the Year," he noted.

"Last year, me and Pat had a chat when I won Player of the Year and he was saying, 'congratulations, delighted' but we have to get back to square one and he said, 'my dream is that we win an All-Ireland against Kerry next year and Alan is player of the year' so we are nearly there."