Friday 24 November 2017

Darcy: Alan Brogan is one of greatest to play for Dublin

Selector praises Brogan and team who are in their 'prime'

Declan Darcy celebrating with Paul Flynn at Croke Park
Declan Darcy celebrating with Paul Flynn at Croke Park

If it is to be Alan Brogan's final game in blue….what a way to go. A third All-Ireland medal.

The brilliant, thoughtful execution of the point which, coming as it did directly after Killian Young's fumbled goal chance, was probably the most important moment of the match.

Even aesthetically, weighting aside, it was the score of the game.

Brogan takes possession from James McCarthy and plays a one-two with Bernard.

Then he travels 50 metres, resisting the options given to him by his brother and Diarmuid Connolly until such time as Shane Enright eventually decides to press the ball.

Brogan turns inside and pitches it over the black spot on the Hill 16 end with his left peg.


In the 10 minutes or so he spent on the pitch, the energy that Brogan generated for Dublin propelled them through that All-Ireland winning line for a third time in his career, featuring all his greatest attributes as a player towards the end.

"Alan is a top class player," praised selector, Declan Darcy afterwards.

"He's one of the best players ever to play for Dublin. He got Player of the Year.

"He's a great talent. He's a huge influence on the team as well. He's an elder statesman and they all respect him greatly.

"He was a huge team player for us this year, which is huge. For the mantra that he has …to acknowledge that the team comes first is huge."

"He's a class act. What he says is perfect sense. There's not any fuss to it. He's direct, to the point.

"The guy has been through an awful lot. And he's a top class player."

He did well to mostly keep his head down afterwards but the couple of public statements made by Alan regarding his future have been of the screening variety.

Speaking at the pre All-Ireland final press night, he warned there and then that no decision would be made until such time as he was good and ready and we reckon that's not any time this week or next.

But despite the sunny prognoses of the expected future success of this year, it's difficult to imagine it being better without Alan Brogan.


Denis Bastick too, has a decision to make and speaking on Monday morning, he teased both sides of the questions but stopped shy of answering it.

He too, would be a seismic loss to Dublin's midfield and that's why they may look back at 2015 as being the high point in the arc of this team, regardless of any future success.

"This team is in their prime," Darcy acknowledged. "This team is probably at the best that they can be.

"So we just have to wait to see how far they can go with it but they're in a great position at the moment."

"I think there's huge work being put into the kids at underage level," he pointed out.

"And they're coming ready for this.

"They're ready for this. Whether they win or not is another thing. But they're comfortable out here.

"That's down to the fact that the underage structure and the work that's gone into the kids five, six even 10 years ago….we had a good stint with them with the Under 21s as well.

"I think they've gotten good coaching and this team is in their prime."

The defenders given their senior inter-county heads by Pat Gilroy are entering their prime years.

James McCarthy possesses three All-Ireland medals, aged just 25. Ditto Rory O'Carroll.

Cian O'Sullivan is just 26.

Philly McMahon, 28, had a season most defenders could only fantasise about.

The newer members of that back line have flourished too.

"I thought Jonny Cooper on James O'Donoghue was a key battle," Darcy stressed.

"I think Jonny had a fantastic game."


Jack McCaffrey, meanwhile, is the most likely candidate to win Footballer of the Year.

And if you'd said in 2013 that the starting point for attributing credit Dublin's next All-Ireland win was their defence, you'd have bet anything for a change in management in the mean time.

But they've evolved too.

"Every game is different. You move tactically. Year on year, you have a challenge from a tactical point of view," Darcy admits.

"Last year definitely, we were challenged. We went off and we did our homework and we came back ready for this year.

"And all that work we put in has stood to us. Particularly when were under real pressure (in the final).

"I wouldn't say we were in complete control of the game but we just seemed to have that small bit of space on Kerry.

"In any sporting context, a loss can do more than a win," Darcy adds of the necessary evolution of this team.

"I think Kerry lost to us in 2013 and they went off and they were hurting.

"And maybe that's one of the reasons that drove them on to victory the following year.

"So it is. It's no harm to have that little bit of hurt to drive you.

"Because winning isn't going to happen every day.

"So how you react from a defeat is crucial. And I think this group of players have been magnificent this year.

"Everything we've asked of them," Darcy concludes, "they've answered all the questions."

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