BERNARD BROGAN WILL get a much-needed shot in the arm when brother Alan teams up with him in the Dublin attack on Sunday, says Ray Cosgrove.
The younger Brogan started the summer in form reminiscent of the 2010 campaign when he won Footballer of the Year, tearing Louth apart with a superb individual tally of 2-5.
And while the Oliver Plunkett’s / Eoghan Ruadh man hauled Pat Gilroy’s men to another Leinster crown with 1-7 against Meath, critics have focused instead on performances against Wexford and Laois which saw him finish with a single score, a pointed free, from the two games.
Cosgrove knows all about pressure in front of goal and he’s quick to dismiss concerns about Brogan’s form ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo.
“He is a quality forward,” the four-time Leinster champion said. “He has had two below-par performances this year and everybody is getting on his case. I don’t think he is that far off the mark.
“The last day [against Laois] he missed a couple of chances. There was a goal opportunity that nine times out of 10 he would have buried and rattled the onion sack and if that had gone in early doors, he could have been on for 1-6 or 1-7 and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
I think with some of the chances he has just got to be a little more clinical. If he is in any way complacent he will probably have Keith Higgins dragging out of him but if he gets enough ball and gets good quality ball, Bernard has the capability of running any of the Mayo lads ragged — but he needs a big game.
A lot of the variables boil down to one thing — confidence — and Cosgrove stresses that Brogan must win his individual battle early on if he is to settle and help Dublin into a second successive All-Ireland final.
“Forwards by their nature are usually confidence players so if things go well and they get an early score, they settle down and it makes it easier to get into the game. If the corner back is out in front and wins the first couple of balls, you do get a little edgy and think ‘It’s going to be one of those days, I’m not going to get my name on the scoreboard.’”
Having his older brother — the reigning Footballer of the Year and a player with whom he has an unspoken understanding — alongside him will help, Cosgrove adds.
Bernard has the ability to put that to the back of his mind. And if Alan is playing, Alan knows how to click with Bernard. They are almost telepathic. You see some of the balls he puts in, left or right, he knows the run Bernard will make. That link missing the last day had an influence on his below-par performance.