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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Brogan expects to see Brennan back with the Blues next year 'stronger than ever'

Bernard Brogan
Bernard Brogan

Bernard Brogan is hoping Ger Brennan can return to the Dublin senior football fold next season - "stronger than ever" - after two years of debilitating injury setbacks.

The two-time All-Ireland winner opted off Jim Gavin's squad last week, in the hope that a long break can heal the recurring Achilles issue that has prevented him from playing a minute of county football these past two seasons.

"Ger is a big player for Dublin," says Brogan of the St Vincent's centre-back, just turned 30. "He's a great character, great bit of craic, but the legs have been struggling with him for the last while.

"He had a long campaign with Vincent's, has been playing with them for the last two years, so it was tough on the body and he just wants to focus on the club this year and get the body right. But I am sure we will see him back playing inter-county in 2016, stronger than ever."

Brennan's long struggle to overcome his Achilles injury, both last summer and this, underlines the fragile nature of an inter-county career.

As Brogan points out: "You look at Eoghan O'Gara (who tore his cruciate last spring) ... he was a big player for us and added something different. You have to relish the time you have - we are all getting that bit older and injuries take a little longer to recover from. It really hones in when you see Eoghan and Ger around the dressing-room and they are not togging out.

"We can feed off that - we can say 'Lads, this can be taken away from you just as quickly as it's here. Relish it and grab it with two hands.'"

The 2010 Footballer of the Year knows all about the cruciate curse, albeit his ACL rupture happened before he had become a Dublin senior.

"The hamstring in 2008 was the most I had missed - I missed two or three championship games - so have been really lucky with major injuries, touch wood," he says.

"A couple of hamstrings here and there that have slowed me down a bit, but really lucky and it is down to the medical staff and the strength and conditioning. We do a lot of work in prehab, getting the body right and flexibility and all that stuff.

"The game has changed from the bulk and physical game of the early 2000s into a running game, getting up and down the pitch - so it is hard on the legs, you have to work hard to keep the body right."

Brogan wasn't involved in the recent challenge match with Armagh that led to a broken nose for Davey Byrne, but he believes the resulting controversy was "a little bit blown out of proportion."

"Davey is back training with the team ... we are moving on," he says. "We had a Leinster final in the middle of it and got over it. We are focused on the next day."

That quarter-final, against opponents still unknown, is another day's work.

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