Sunday 19 November 2017

'I played too much this season' admits Brogan

Dublin star Bernard Brogan at the launch of the county's new jersey yesterday
Dublin star Bernard Brogan at the launch of the county's new jersey yesterday
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Bernard Brogan will try to be more selective about the games he plays in 2014 after admitting he "ran out of steam" because of a heavy workload in the early part of this season.

Brogan said he had erred by playing football matches on 11 consecutive weekends in the first two and a half months of the year.

Fresh from a third All Star award in four years, Brogan reflected on a rollercoaster 2013 season that saw him hit a rich vein of form in the early part of the league before dipping in mid-season as injury struck, and recovering spectacularly in September.

The 2010 Footballer of the Year committed to every O'Byrne Cup, league and inter-provincial game until mid-March when a groin injury put him off the road for a month.

Brogan struggled for his best form in the Leinster championship and was replaced in four of Dublin's six championship matches before delivering a tour de force in the All-Ireland final.

Such a heavy schedule was of his own choosing, he acknowledged, but compromised his form.

"This year I told Jim (Gavin) I wanted to play in every game I could, to build some momentum. I play well when playing ball, practising and kicking," he said. "The reason I did was because the year before, after we won the All-Ireland, I went to Australia and got back and only played towards the end of the league.

"I felt that summer I wasn't at my best because I hadn't played all year. I felt I lost momentum. I think I just needed a bit of a rest, the legs were a bit sore.

"I came good then before the end of the year. It is a long year, and I think the GPA do need to do a lot on burnout, with most of our lads playing Sigerson and that. Hopefully we can come to some arrangements where the lads don't come under the stress that I did."

Brogan also insisted he had no issue with the refereeing of Dublin's matches in 2013 and the perceived imbalance in the number of frees awarded to them by comparison to opponents, a point raised by manager Gavin in the immediate aftermath of the All-Ireland final.

"I'm the freetaker and I can see the amount of frees that I'm able to take. They are few and far between. I don't think we're getting any unfair frees against us. The odd decision here and there – like any player, when you're pulled down, you think you should get a free and you don't get a free.

"The free count at the end of that game (All-Ireland final), there was a big difference. But I think the referees have a very tough job. I'm not going to criticise them.

"I don't think we get a lot of frees. But I'm not saying that we're still getting fouled a lot, the free count has just gone down. It's a hard one to call. I don't think the referees are going out there to not give Dubs lads frees. It's just something that Jim has said that'll be taken on board."

Brogan accepts it will be very difficult next year for Dublin to replicate the style that took them to National League, Leinster and All-Ireland titles this season.

"I think teams will look at the way we played and try something similar and come up with ways of counteracting us and stopping us," he reflected.

"So you have to reinvent yourself and keep moving. I'm sure Jim is already after meeting up with the (back-room) lads and coming up with a way of structuring things for next year. If you go out with the same plan, people will come up with a way of stopping you."

Brogan said he loved the free-spirited approach taken by Gavin since his arrival.

"As a full-forward I love just playing football. I think when you go out and play like you're a kid and just enjoy the football – that's when you play your best.

"When it's too strict and too regime-orientated I find it's very hard. You have to have a very tight-knit group of lads who have it bred into them to change their way and do something different."

Brogan has also cast some doubt on whether his brother Alan and Stephen Cluxton will commit to playing in 2014.

"I've heard the rumours," said Brogan of the pair's future.

"He's a peculiar fish at the best of times," he added of Cluxton. "He just needs a bit of love every now and again. If we give him a bit of attention at the end of the year and put the arm around the shoulder I'm sure he'll come back again.

"He has put a massive effort into Dublin for 11 years or however long he's there. I think there's loads left. He's the fittest man, he's top of every sprint and every long run we do. There's no issue with his body or anything like that.

"His girlfriend is a massive Dublin fan as well. I'll probably be talking to her first before I talk to him because she might have the last say.

"Hopefully next year we won't lose any bodies."

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport