Thursday 27 October 2016

alan back for final push

Former Footballer of the Year believes he can work his way back into starting team

IT "probably will," be Alan Brogan's last year as a Dublin player, he doesn't expect to start against Longford on May 31st though longer-term, he hasn't come back to sit on the bench all summer, and naturally enough, he thinks there's an All-Ireland in this year's team.

Such were the headlines from Brogan's first public pronouncements since his repatriation with the panel at the end of last month.

"I still believe I'm good enough to play in the team," stated the 2011 Footballer of the Year at a promotional event today at his club, St Oliver Plunkett's/ER.

"The next few weeks might come a bit too soon but all I can do is come back and train as hard as I can and see can I force my way back into the team.

"Obviously, coming out of a good National League, towards the end of the League we picked ourselves up and put a few good performances in so the team that finished the League did a pretty good job.


"But I still think I'm good enough to play. If I didn't, I wouldn't be here.

"If I thought I was going to be a sub for the whole Championship, would I have come back? Probably not. I came back to get into the team."

Almost the first half of the inter-county year then, was an Alan Brogan-free zone.

Yet the presumption was that he would be back for a 14th season in blue.

His hiatus was filled mostly, with the new arrival of a baby boy in March but he "tipped away with the club," did all the physical work that needed doing in the gym and proclaims himself now to be in "decent shape."

He has, understandably enough, some way to go in the pursuit of match fitness, sharpness and general wherewithal but acknowledges too, "maybe at 33, I just won't get to the same level as some of those guys."

"I think Jim understands that in order to get the best out of yourself on the pitch, the rest of your life has to be in order.

"He was supportive like that," he explained of the leeway afforded by the Dublin manager.

"He knew I was having a new baby and that I had to be at home when I was having the new baby.

"Maybe he gave me a bit of leeway that other fellas might not have gotten and I'm obviously grateful for that. Now hopefully I can repay that."

Had Dublin won last year's All-Ireland - as looked very probable until the Donegal game - Brogan reckons he'd have taken both a medal and his leave there and then, so this has all the hallmarks of a final season as a Dublin senior.

"Look it probably will," he admits.


"I haven't really thought about that to be honest with you. That's probably something I'll decide come the end of September hopefully. As each year goes pass it does get harder and harder - it's certainly coming close anyway."

"If you know it's going to be your last chance you want to give it everything you can. That certainly does play a part in the mindset and that's probably the way I'll treat it.

"Saying it, that's probably the way I treated last year as well, that this could be the last shot I have at this so I'll try to give it everything."

Quite where he fits into the Dublin attack isn't immediately clear.

Diarmuid Connolly looks the natural choice for the number 11 jersey Brogan wore last year, but could again be required on the wing.

Eoghan O'Gara is gone but Dean Rock is nailed-on, at least for May 31st and the visit of Longford. "Maybe 11 or 13, it really depends on who's on form and who's not," Brogan reckoned.

"Obviously there are four forward positions.

"The two wing forward positions that are doing a lot of tracking, maybe that role won't be suited to me, so any of the other four positions is where I'd probably be," Brogan concluded.


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