Brogan refusing to dwell on the past in quest for silverware
TEN years in the Dublin jersey without the ultimate happy ending for Alan Brogan, but the classy forward journeys on in the hope that his destiny includes an All-Ireland victory. Not that it keeps him up at night.
Brogan, as he says himself, lives the life of a footballer. Win, lose or draw, the next match, the next challenge awaits and that's how his career has evolved, season by season, into a decade of service with the Dubs senior team.
Time does slip by, but at 29 and with the prospect of a seventh Leinster medal on offer against Wexford on Sunday, that's the limit of Brogan's musings on his football future.
"Look, it's not something that's on my mind every day, an All-Ireland final," he says. "You keep going, you play the next match. I am not one that would be worrying about the past or worrying about the future -- 'if I don't play in an All-Ireland final what's going to happen?'. Just keep going.
"You take each game as it comes, train as hard as you can. I can't get to an All-Ireland final on Sunday, so what's the point in worrying about it?
"A provincial championship still holds something for teams. I certainly wouldn't mind saying I have seven Leinster medals as opposed to six. It's one we really want to win."
Brogan has looked sharp and has been very effective for most of the year, and he and brother Bernard remain a potent threat to any opposition.
However, there remains a tinge of regret that he couldn't join Bernard and another brother, Paul, in the Allianz Football League final against Cork because of suspension for a dismissal against Mayo.
Another national title occasion, and one that slipped by Alan. It would have been his first National League final.
He might well have made a difference in a forward line that became shot-shy late in the match, but what do you do? Next game, next challenge.
"It certainly was a blow to miss it. I've never played in a league final, but you have to get on with that. I thought it was a harsh decision at the time but there is nothing you can really do about it. Onwards and upwards. The league is a distant memory," he adds.
Also fading into the memory is the time when forwards were forwards, defenders were defenders, and it was a man-to-man struggle for supremacy between them.
Brogan covers the miles up and down the field, something he had to adjust to under Pat Gilroy's regime.
"It took a while to buy into alright, like any change takes time to buy into," he says.
"In fairness to Pat, when he asked me to do something, he showed us why we need to do it and what would happen if we did do it and that always makes it easier when you can see the results. Now, as we go on, we can see the results.
"The big difference I notice is the way the team systems have changed from when I started. Teams have gone quite defensive, whereas in the first couple of years playing as an inside forward you would've had a lot more space. It is very rarely that you get a one-on-one with a man now."
It's interesting to note that Brogan reckons Dublin and Wexford have much to discover about themselves and their capabilities on Sunday.
"They are a good team but I don't think they've really been tested yet. Probably the jury is still out on them, but the same could be said of us.
"We have only done okay in the two games, but we haven't set the world alight, and we'll need to up our performance on Sunday. Wexford are a threat with the forwards they have and the scores they have clocked up.
"Ben Brosnan, Redmond Barry, who I played with in UCD, is lightning quick, Ciaran Lyng is a great footballer, so they have guys there that can cause problems.
"Shane Roche played in Dublin for a while with Sylvester's. He has pace as well. They will certainly have a threat and it's one we won't be disrespecting."