Friday 22 November 2019

Brother backs Bernard Brogan for August return from cruciate injury

Dublin's Bernard Brogan. Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin's Bernard Brogan. Photo: Sportsfile
Alan Brogan at the launch of the KN Group All-Ireland GAA Golf Challenge, which will take place at Concra Wood and Nuremore on August 24 and 25. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Bernard Brogan is aiming for an August return from a cruciate ligament operation that has threatened his inter-county career.

Brogan's brother Alan revealed that his younger sibling had the end of the All-Ireland series in sight, provided the champions stayed the course.

Dublin's Bernard Brogan. Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin's Bernard Brogan. Photo: Sportsfile

It's an ambitious target for the 34-year-old but one which Alan Brogan feels the five-time All-Ireland senior winner has the determination to meet.

Describing the incident as "innocuous" as he lost his footing in a shooting drill on the Thursday night before Dublin's league match with Donegal last month, Alan Brogan said the timeline for recovery was pitched at six months.

Bernard had surgery to repair the ligament two weeks ago. "He's back on his feet now. He's out and about and he was with the physio there yesterday (Monday). So he's back on the road to recovery.

"He's looking at how quick can you get back and I think he'll give it a lash to try and get back for around August, the six-month mark," said Alan.

"It's still a big ask for a 34-year-old. But I know with work, he probably does have that flexibility, that if he does have to devote a certain amount of time to it, he probably can.

"That's what he'll aim for. He'll try and get back for the end of the championship. But for the moment, it's one day at a time.

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"It is possible to get back in six months. I think he was telling me that Fergus McFadden got back in four-and-a-half (months). I'm not sure he'll beat that!

"A lot of people have said to me since, 'It's terrible'. And I'm sure he's disappointed underneath it all but you can't change the past."

Bernard Brogan has been a substitute in Dublin's final championship game in the last two seasons and was fired up to put in a big 2018 after losing his starting place last year.

He showed good form to set up two goals against Kildare in the opening league match and his older brother admits that even if he did make it back by August and Dublin are still involved, he will find it hard to reclaim a starting place.

"Whether he gets back this year or not, his role will be coming off the bench. So that's up to him," said Alan.

"I think for now, he'll just try and focus on getting back for that August date.

"I saw an article Billy Keane wrote in the Irish Independent and he mentioned Bernard and said he comes across as quite, maybe gentle is the wrong word ('inner tenacity often masked by his genial and generous off-the-field courtesy'), but he's very focused underneath it all.

"And if he has to do the work to get back, if he has to go to the gym twice a day, he will do that. If it was me and I had to go to the gym twice a day at this stage of my life, I would obviously struggle with that. But I think he has that flexibility. So I'd give him a chance of getting back this year."

The 2011 Footballer of the Year feels his brother made the correct call in getting the operation done as quickly as possible after initial speculation that he would seek to build up muscle around the knee to avoid or delay surgery.

"He might have thought about it for a couple of days but my initial thoughts on that would have been that in the position he plays, there's a lot of sharp turning and movement.

Swelling "So he's made the right decision and once he got that straight in his head, he got the operation done quickly as well. I think you have to wait until the swelling comes down. I don't think it actually swelled up that bad, so he was able to get the operation quite quickly."

Alan feels it was probably going to be Bernard's last year until the ligament tore which may now alter his plans.

"He obviously took a while to make his decision after the end of last year. Similar to myself (in 2015), he probably said he would give it one last lash. He didn't go on the team holiday, he was working away early in the hope of getting some good early runs in the league.

"Now the work he put in in the first six or eight weeks of the season is wasted. So I think it would have been (his last year). But considering this (knee operation), I wouldn't rule him out of next year just yet.

"If he has only a year left, he may as well throw everything he has into trying to get back. And if he can't get back this year, he might just decide he will give it one more and see where it takes him.

"But it does get harder and harder. He'll be 35 next year. And it's a difficult team to get into at the best of times.

"And when you look at what Jim has done over the last couple of years, he seems to have moved the older fellas onto the bench and he's bringing through the younger guys.

"I'd be surprised if we don't see him pulling on the jersey again at some stage," he said.

Irish Independent

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