Tuesday 24 October 2017

Brogan vows to stick by Gilroy selection strategy for Royal showdown

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

UNDER the Paul Caffrey regime, a Dublin team without Alan Brogan in the starting side was unthinkable. Under Pat Gilroy, his omission from the team to play Wexford paled into insignificance when compared to the Dubs' ineptness for the opening 45 minutes against the Model men.

Yet the elder of the Brogan brothers insisted yesterday that he will 'stick by' the manager's decision when the team is announced tomorrow morning. However, given that he was the first unenforced switch made during the Wexford match (he replaced Eamon Fennell after 20 minutes), Brogan looks set to be reinstated to the side for Sunday's Leinster semi-final clash with Meath.

"We spent a bit of time looking back at it and what had gone wrong in the first 40, 45 minutes (of the Wexford game)," he said.

"If we're looking to take the positive out of it, I haven't been on too many Dublin teams that have turned over a seven-point lead in a championship game."

Gilroy's new defensive formation came under fire in the aftermath of that match, but Brogan hinted that there would be little change in approach for the Meath game.

The Oliver Plunkett's man insisted that the blame for the system failure lay with the players, who failed to carry out instructions in the first half.

"Guys are getting hung up on this whole system, but it's literally just a case of trying to get the ball back as quick as we can and we didn't do that in the first half," said Brogan.

"We knew when we spoke at half-time that we hadn't done what we're supposed to do and I'd like to think that when we changed that in the second half, the game changed completely.

"We won it comfortably once we sorted out what we were doing and I suppose we hadn't played like that in Croke Park before. No matter where you are, in Parnell Park or in provincial grounds, Croke Park is a different feeling. It's a different game when you go in there."

If the Dublin-Meath rivalry has dulled in recent years, it's down to the metropolitans' dominance of the fixture since 2001.

Brogan, an elder statesmen of the Dublin squad, has never tasted championship defeat to the Royals.

"It's always cyclical. I think Meath will dominate again in a few years, like we have dominated for the last number of years.

"Going forward they're very strong, they have three or four forwards that are top class. I went to college with Joe Sheridan, I know how good he is. He'll cause trouble for anyone on any day.

"If Stephen Bray rekindles the kind of form that won him an All Star, he'll cause trouble for anyone and, obviously, Cian Ward and Shane O'Rourke look very dangerous as well."

Brogan's clubmate Anthony Moyles is a doubt for Meath, while Nigel Crawford and Mark Ward are also struggling for fitness. Mickey Burke (broken leg) and Paddy O'Rourke (suspension) are definitely out, which means that Eamonn O'Brien could be forced to perform major surgery on his team before Sunday.

Irish Independent

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