Bernard: I'm keen to get back in action and start the ball rolling again
BERNARD Brogan still maintains a successful All-Ireland title retention is "very difficult but not impossible," despite Dublin's inability to put back-to-back wins together in a season when they were the shortest favourites for Sam Maguire in verifiable memory.
"This year we would have fancied ourselves," admitted the 2010 Footballer of the Year.
"Retaining one is tough because everyone is watching what your system is and everyone's coming up with strategies to break you down.
"If you win an All-Ireland you'll obviously stick to a similar strategy and try and twist it a bit but it gives people an opportunity to come up with solutions to beat you.
"So it is a very difficult thing to do. And in this day and age with the preparation and professionalism of the game and how well prepared teams are, it does make it very difficult."
The simple answer to that particular problem, surely, would be for the reigning All-Ireland champions to skew the view of the targets on their back by doing something at least marginally different than they did a year previous.
And in that, Jim Gavin has already - both honestly and admirably - held up his hand to attract the prime cut of blame from Dublin's failings against Donegal.
Yet Brogan reckoned responsibility for the defeat should be much more thinly spread..
"Me personally, missing a couple of frees at an important time in the game where we were six points down and could have started something," he pointed out.
"Everyone else is saying the same, Diarmo (Connolly) missing a couple of chances, Kevin Mac said he missed one that he never misses in Croke Park. It was strange how all these happened at the same time."
"We probably didn't expect Donegal to get two or three goals on us.
"We'd been so ready to go forward and we just got caught on the counter a couple of times and, in fairness to Donegal, the first one, if O'Gara's ball to me been a foot forward I might have been able to steer it into the net.
"Or if Diarmo's ball had hit the corner it might have been a different game and we'd all be talking about Dublin today, being All-Ireland champions. You never know.
"But when you come out and you feel as if you haven't given everything that you could or you haven't done enough, it hurts. So the players, and me personally, would be very disappointed."
Which isn't an emotion alien to Brogan at this particular juncture...but then he probably never had another season when he thought an All-Ireland was so attainable.
"Jackie Tyrrell said that when they were beaten by Tipperary, the hunger you get from losing one is much greater than the hunger you have after winning one," he added, in an optimisitc note.
"I totally agree with his point. Like, I'd love to go out training tomorrow to get ready for (2015),
"As long as the legs hold up through the Club championship I'll be coming back the first day we're training and fully in and wanting to give it everything all year.
"There'll be no taking our time this year," Brogan concludes. "I'm very keen to get back in and start the ball rolling again."