Friday 15 November 2019

Waiting game pays dividends as Brady finds fresh impetus

Tomas Brady
Tomas Brady
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Jim Gavin has spoken about Dublin's league campaign as a "process" that they are undergoing and, regardless of results, one they are not going to deviate from.

It involves exposing certain players to much more game-time and different roles than what they have perhaps been accustomed to in the past.

One central part of that "process" is Tomas Brady who, if he is selected for tomorrow night's match against Mayo, will have started five in succession, to match the number he has previously started in either league or championship over the previous two years.

At last he is beginning to see some open road as a Dublin footballer.

Injuries and serving as domestique to some of Dublin's more established players - including Cian O'Sullivan, whom he replaced as a substitute in his only two Championship appearances last summer - have reduced his impact to just bit-parts since his move from Anthony Daly's hurling squad at the end of a disappointing 2012 campaign.

Brady's form with Na Fianna had always hinted at a future with the county's senior footballers but his status as one of the 'rocks' of Dublin hurling made a switch seem unlikely.

To this day, despite missing out on the hurlers' landmark 2013 Leinster championship success, Brady insists the decision to move is without regret.

"I'm happy with the decision and focused on football," he said. "Of course I always keep an eye on the hurlers. I'm still close to a lot of the lads. Joey Boland is my clubmate and a very good friend who I'd be chatting to regularly, and I grew up playing on teams with Johnny McCaffrey so I would be in contact with them."

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Brady has worked hard to overcome a second cruciate ligament injury sustained in June 2013 that denied him more direct involvement in Dublin's All-Ireland success that summer.

Prior to this campaign he had started just five games, finishing one and had been a substitute in four more.

His work-rate has been his most impressive feature, often covering up to 12 kilometres in the course of a match.

"It's the modern wing-forward's role. As a forward you are expected to score so you have to support the attack but there is also a job to do in helping out the half-backs and I have probably been more defensive compared to other roles I have played," he said.

Brady doesn't envisage Dublin moving too far from their philosophy of attacking football despite recent reversals and last year's defeat to Donegal.

"We are trying new things, lots of guys are getting a chance and there is a different style. That is what the league is for. Our primary focus is the championship. The league is important as well but we are trying things and will shore up the defence this year.

"We will not change our philosophy and we will still play the way that Dublin teams traditionally play. One game and one result against Donegal last year is not going to dramatically change the way we play. We are just going to try and tweak the game-plan so that we are a bit better."

The 27-year-old expects a more open game against Mayo than what they have experienced so far in the league.

"Mayo are not as defensive-minded a team as some of the northern teams so we should get far more chances up front. You expect playing Mayo to be a more open game," he said.

Irish Independent

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