Saturday 18 January 2020

Brogan: 'I'm going again - and I'll take that jersey back'

Dublin’s Bernard Brogan was at the launch of the 2016 Sport Industry Awards at the Guinness Enterprise Centre yesterday. Picture: Jason Clarke
Dublin’s Bernard Brogan was at the launch of the 2016 Sport Industry Awards at the Guinness Enterprise Centre yesterday. Picture: Jason Clarke

Jackie Cahill

Bernard Brogan has vowed to win back his starting place on the Dublin senior football team next year.

Brogan, 32, was dropped for the All-Ireland final replay victory over Mayo but came off the bench to kick a second-half point.

And the St Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh clubman has laughed off suggestions made by former Kerry star Pat Spillane that he needed to ignore off-field distractions ahead of the replay.

Speaking before the rematch, Spillane remarked: "The guy (Brogan) is making a fortune but if I was Jim Gavin I'd say, 'Bernard, for the next two weeks no television, no ploughing championships, no opening supermarkets, no cooking. Bernard, I want you training and training hard' because Bernard hasn't been producing."

Brogan said that Dublin simply ignored their detractors in the fortnight between the Mayo games, adding: "I didn't read much about them, but we were talking about them since the game, the bits and pieces that were said.

"I heard he (Spillane) was on about opening shops and bits and pieces, I just laugh. They have to say something.

"The Dublin team, as ye know, hadn't talked to a bit of media in two months or hadn't done any sort of openings or anything like that.

"That is something that is water off a duck's back for me at this stage.

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"I had my own challenges to get myself right for the game, and I just had to get my own mindset right.

"Once I knew that I wasn't going to be in the team, I wanted the lads to know that this was about the team and that I wasn't going to throw my toys out of the pram or anything like that, just go on and do my best for the team as I will get 20 minutes."

Brogan, who's been part of the Dublin set-up for a decade, confirmed that he plans to extend a glittering inter-county career by at least another season.

And he vowed: "I'm going back to go at it again next year, but I'm going at it to take that jersey back.

"I'm an ultra-competitive guy and it's probably how I got into the team in the first place, so next year I'll be no different.

"In every training session I'll be going out there to get into that first 15, and if I don't get in it will be for the reason that someone else performed better than me.

"But I'll be going at it to get back on the team, there's no question I'm going to say, 'Oh yeah this is my role now from now on,' and anyone who has a mindset like that, I think that would say a lot about you. So I don't think anyone that goes out and accepts that 'I've got a small role here', you have to go out and push for everything."

Brogan was one of a number of high-profile Dublin players omitted from the All-Star nomination list, a sea-change of sorts for a player with four of the individual awards.

Michael Darragh Macauley and Paul Flynn also failed to make the 45-man long-list but Brogan, speaking at the launch of the 2016 Sport Industry awards yesterday, was keen to put a positive slant on the news.

He said: "To see the nominations without us, it's a sign of the character of that team, the sign of a true panel and of players coming from all over the park and off the bench, and all adding to it.

"It's a sign of the panel that Jim (Gavin) has built. He'll play lads that are playing well and for a young lad coming through to think, 'If I play well I have a chance of playing.'

"Cormac Costello hadn't played all year and he was hurting, he really went after it in training the last couple of weeks and he was flying, and Jim gave him his rewards for that."

While Dublin's All-Ireland win, their second in a row and third in four seasons, has prompted claims of 'financial doping', Brogan insisted that good structures from underage right through to senior are very much the key to a golden era. But he acknowledged: "Dublin have always had more money because they're the capital.

"Fifty years ago or 100 years ago they would have always had more money. I don't think it's money, I think it's about the structures that I talked about.

"The U-13, U-14 team has Jason Sherlock as manager with David Henry, I think, Declan Lally, Paul Casey.

"I know Collie Moran has the team above that, I think Ciarán Whelan has one, Paddy Christie is involved.

"These are all players who do it for nothing, that are heroes of the game, and they go back and give up their Saturday or Sunday morning from eight o'clock on.

"I know Jayo's team because Declan Lally is good pals with me from home, they carry 60-80 kids a week, training or upskilling them.

"Like, every county can do that. Every county can, instead of bringing 15 lads on one team, bring loads of lads in and try and bring them all the way up and use their heroes of the game, inter-county players."

Brogan added: "That's the difference, players that win games.

"Money, what does it give you? We haven't been away at all for a training camp at all, we go down the country.

"Every other team has gone to Spain and Portugal and all this stuff.

"It takes money and resources to do that, but there's no-one that doesn't have a pitch and a set of balls and jerseys that they can go out and train.

"There's obviously more finances in Dublin because it's got more population and that's what leads to more sponsorship, but at grassroots level it's about participation, teaching these kids and getting them to evolve.

"When we had the cup in 2011, we went around to 400 schools to try and get more kids involved in GAA and that's the knock-on effect of how you breed the future of the game.

"So that's the answer to the financial question."

And Brogan doesn't envisage any retirements from the Dublin set-up, insisting that 35-year-old midfielder Denis Bastick still has a role to play.

He added: "I guarantee if you asked any Dublin player would Bastick do a role for you again next year, they'd say he would.

"He'll make his own decisions. It's a special group and everyone will want to be part of it for as long as they can."

Irish Independent

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