Saturday 17 February 2018

'Undroppable' Brogan ready to answer his critics - Cosgrove

Former Dublin attacker Ray Cosgrove. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Former Dublin attacker Ray Cosgrove. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Bernard Brogan might not have hit the consistent heights of past seasons just yet but former Dublin attacker Ray Cosgrove believes he's still "undroppable".

It's been a patchy championship season for Brogan ahead of Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final with Kerry. He was taken off scoreless twice, but hit 1-7 from play in their other two outings.

Questions hang over the 32-year-old's form but despite Paul Mannion's impressive cameo against Donegal, when firing 1-1 off the bench, Cosgrove doesn't expect his Kilmacud Crokes club-mate to take Brogan's place on Sunday and scoffed at the notion that his talent is on the wane.

"He's undroppable," Cosgrove said of the 2010 Footballer of the Year. "He was unbelievable in the Leinster final, I thought he was back to his best. Has Paul done enough to get back into the team?

"He's certainly going to ask hard questions but Berno is tried and tested. It was very difficult against Donegal, I was watching him, there wasn't much space and it's very hard for an inside forward.

"I don't see Kerry packing the defence like they did the last day. He'll get on a lot more ball and Berno doesn't need much space.

"The one thing that will drive him is to answer the critics and put them back in their box and say, 'Listen, I haven't been the best player in Dublin for the last number of years just to be written off over one blip'."

The 2002 All-Star is happy to see Mannion's star shining once again, however, and feels it's only natural for him to take time to bed back into Jim Gavin's squad after taking nine months out of the game to study in China last year.

"You can't just take nine full months away from it and try to integrate yourself back in, even into a club scene here in Dublin, Paul struggled to get his fitness levels back up," he said.

"I was delighted when he showed glimpses in the point that he kicked and the composure he showed for the goal against Donegal but he has that in the locker. It's not a trade secret.

"Everyone knows how talented Paul is, he's got magnificent balance, superb pace and if you pull out pictures of him from a few years ago, he's developed physically and he'll certainly be asking questions of Jim.

"In the early rounds of the championship I could see he was trying so hard but he just wasn't fulfilling the potential that he has. He'd drop an odd ball and it just wasn't happening for him.

"But against Donegal, I said, 'Right, that's the Paul Mannion that I've seen over the years that has done the business with the club'. His confidence is high now."

Irish Independent

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