Brogan backs axed McConnell and Fennell to bounce back
Alan Brogan has seen a brother and a couple of friends axed from the Dublin panel in recent weeks. Another pal was compelled to retire from inter-county football after being omitted for 2013.
By John Fogarty
Younger sibling Paul, clubmate Ross McConnell and Eamonn Fennell have all been omitted while Tomás Quinn followed Paul Casey out the door after he was told he was being cast aside.
But last year’s Footballer of the Year can understood why new Dublin boss Jim Gavin has taken a broom to the panel for next year.
At Gavin’s first panel meeting last Friday, Brogan was surrounded by a multitude of new faces, but he knows the score even if it has impacted on those close to him.
“I spoke to both of them,” he said of midfielders McConnell and Fennell. “They are very disappointed. They were very committed guys.
“Jim has spoken to them and said it’s an open-ended panel. I know that’s a cliche as well but that’s where it’s at. Any manager coming in is going to try to put his stamp on things and unfortunately those are the guys that are missing out at the moment. But the two of them are quite focused and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them back.”
Despite reports suggesting the contrary, goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton is fully expected to be involved next season after attending Friday’s meeting.
Brogan was surprised by the speculation. “He was away when that story came out so I don’t know where it came from. I think he’s committed for next year. I think he spoke to Jim and committed so it was a storm in a teacup.”
With Bryan Cullen unavailable for the early part of the season, Brogan, 31, could be the only outfield survivor from the 2005 team come the start of the National League.
As he rests the osteo pubis injury that curtailed his Championship this year, he won’t be available for the O’Byrne Cup but is aiming to be back for the early stages of Dublin’s Division 1 campaign.
Brogan admits he may require an operation on the injury, which forced Munster and Ireland lock Paul O’Connell to go under the knife.
“The operation is six weeks or two months (recovery) so I still have the time where I can afford to be a little bit conservative with it and if it needs an operation still have time to get back for maybe March time.”
With the Football Review Committee about to deliver their recommendations to the GAA, Brogan would like to see them endorse Dessie Farrell’s “tap and go” idea.
“I think it would stop some of the cynical fouling that’s going on at the minute and help to speed up the game. I think any rules that are in favour of attacking play are worthwhile having a go at. ”
Brogan doesn’t believe teams have to be cynical to win an All-Ireland. “I think you have to be smart. You have to play the game as you see it and I think only smart teams will win the All-Ireland these days.
Meanwhile, Farrell has been ratified as new Dublin U21 manager after leading the minors to an All-Ireland title this year.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved