Brogan puts his faith in Gilroy vision
Bernard Brogan jogged across the new Samuel Beckett Bridge with the Olympic Flame in hand yesterday morning and calmly passed on the honour to international soccer legend Paul McGrath.
How Padraig Rath and the Louth defence must have wished for such benign movement less than three days earlier just a few hundred metres north west from where yesterday's exchange took place.
Brogan's first competitive game of the season for Dublin had him picking up from where he left off last season in such dynamic form.
An enforced break due to shoulder and then knee injuries, which ruled him out of all seven league matches, has left him straining at the leash for football, an ominous sign for all those intent on closing him out in the months ahead.
For a first competitive game of the season Brogan's movement, awareness, sharpness and, above all, hunger were in perfect order. Louth were first to feel it.
A couple of poorly directed frees apart, Brogan's application was reflective of how the team collectively approached this game.
"I enjoyed the break, but it just made me so hungry. Missing the league made me really hungry to get back in there
"I wanted to chance games when there was two or three weeks to go. I put the head down because it wasn't an easy team to get in to... Eoghan O'Gara going well, Kevin McManamon showing he wants to be a first-team player, he doesn't want to be a supersub anymore.
"It was the first time I hadn't played any football for six to seven years. I didn't get any time with the ball in the hand. I did a lot of fitness work and a lot of pool work. The body was grand, I just needed time with the ball.
"We played loads of football in the weeks coming up to it and I was moving half-decent and the body felt good."
Brogan feels that any question about Dublin's hunger can be firmly dispelled after Sunday's show. The team selection itself was an indication of their mindset, with all 15 starters involved in last year's All-Ireland final.
"It is very easy for those lads to be happy with an All-Ireland and swan around the place. In fairness to Pat (Gilroy), he always plays the team that works hardest, the team that shows the effort in training. It is great that the same 15-18 players are still there showing the desire," he said.
Brogan acknowledges that Gilroy's tough love at the beginning of 2010, when he left him off the team for the opening three matches, has made him the player he is today.
"I always talk to him about how I might develop my game -- he is a great man-manager and his vision for football is just unbelievable," he said.
"His football brain is so good. He is a phenomenal coach and he has been huge for me. Even this year, he wants you to bring something different to your game. It is not easy to change, but I will be working with him on ways to make me a better player."
Gilroy has persuaded Brogan to do more tracking and tackling, and the player now relishes those duties.
"It is hugely infectious around the pitch. The full-back line sees the full-forward going out and making tackles and working hard, and it gives them so much energy," he said.
"I hear it all the time, with the club and with the Dubs -- 'Bernard, if you go out there and make tackles and work hard, it is so infectious and makes the lads work so much harder'."