DUBLIN STAR BERNARD BROGAN expects a stern test from Cork in the Allianz National Football League final at Croke Park final on Easter Sunday.
But last year’s Footballer of the Year says he wants to go out and win the title for his brother, Alan, who will sit the game out through suspension.
The elder of the Brogan brothers was dismissed against Galway at Pearse Stadium on Sunday. And Bernard admits, it’s a major blow.
“Alan’s hugely disappointed, the whole family is,” he said yesterday.
“It was a bit of a nothing incident and it’s a pity now because he’s been waiting 10 years to play in a league final, he was really looking forward to it.
“It’s a huge disappointment for the family and hopefully we can go out there and bring it back for him.
“He was devastated. I didn’t even talk to him, he left early. I haven’t seen him shook like that for a while. And as you guys would know his discipline record is immaculate. It’s a big blow,” he added.
Dublin go into their first league decider since 1999 against All-Ireland champions Cork. Brogan admits getting to the showpiece was a target set by Gilroy at the start of the year.
“Other years Dublin have focused on player rotation in the league and haven’t focused on it but this year we said we wanted to be as competitive as we can and that’s what we set our stall out at the start of the year to win every game and try to get to the league final. We’ve got there now it’s this is kind of a bonus territory now for us,” he said at an event to promote Xbox ‘Kinect Sports.
“We’re going to be going up against a Cork side that are gathering a bit of momentum. I think when we played them earlier in the year they were only back from their holidays so it’ll probably be a different game.
“They’re coming in and settling on their team facing into the championship. I think it will be a different team than what we faced, I know they had a bit of an upset against Mayo but they’ve put in some good performances over the last couple of games. We’re not expecting easy battles. It’s going to be Championship-esque. It’s going to be huge.
“I have no recollection of 1999. In years gone by Dublin were always contesting league finals and it’s a standard we should always set ourselves. If you look at it, every year Kerry and Tyrone are always there or thereabouts and that equates to All Ireland success.
“So hopefully from this year on, we’ll be more competitive in the league. Hopefully it’s back to the basics for the Dubs,” he adds.
Though Brogan cannily talks up the chances of Conor Counihan’s side, Dublin have been tested in a string of tough, big stage contests already and look to be brimming with talent throughout the panel.
“I couldn’t pick the starting 15,” he agrees, “But we’ve been winning games and he’s been changing men and that’s what you want.
“You want to have say two lads for every position on the pitch. I think the lads coming off the bench have made a huge difference and turned the games for us and I think that’s only going to stand to us.
“The Spring Series for the GAA as a whole was great, they got huge numbers out and the likes of Jedward and these types of things, they’ve been very successful.
“Hopefully it’s here to stay. The figures won’t lie. The amount of people coming out to games is only going to grow. Where before it would only be the loyal supporters who would go down to Parnell Park, but when there’s a bit of an event it’s different.
“The Saturday night games have been brilliant, you can go in and watch a game and see a bit of an act at half time and then go out for a few pints afterwards. that’s what people want. The Sunday games – it’s hard for people to go for a few pints if they’re working on a Monday.
“People want to make a night out of it. It’s an event more than a game and that’s what stood to it this year.”
- Bernard Brogan, Cork’s Eoin Cadogan and Michael Murphy from Donegal went head-to-head on the Kinect Sports™ for Xbox 360. Check out the Xbox LIVE Ireland page for further details