Brogan keeps track of Gillick

Bernard Brogan thinks Ireland’s 400-metre record holder David Gillick’s natural pace could make him a perfect fit for Jim Gavin’s expansive game plan.

Brogan keeps track of Gillick

Gillick became the latest athlete to return to his roots when he lined out in midfield for Balinteer St Johns in the first round of the Dublin senior championship last week as they ran out 3-13 to 2-10 winners against O’Tooles.

“If he’s able to play ball, he (Gavin) loves a man with pace,” Brogan said. “It will be interesting to see how he goes over the club championship.

“It’s interesting. John, his brother, is with AIG, and I was talking with him about it. He played midfield and got up and down the pitch.

“As you know, he’s the fastest man in Ireland over 400 metres, so he’s a nice asset to have on the pitch. You see it in Mayo, too, and it’s great to see the likes of other sports men like that coming back into the game, back to what they grew up with.”

Former Irish rugby international Gavin Duffy joined the Mayo panel for training last week after almost 15 years away from the sport. Gillick hadn’t played Gaelic football competitively since 2003.

Gillick and Duffy are 30 and 32 years old, respectively, so potentially have enough time to readapt to the different nuances of Gaelic football.

Gillick joked that he was “too used to running in straight lines” after last week’s game and Brogan will also have a close eye on how Duffy progresses with James Horan’s side.

“It’s great,” Brogan said. “These lads grew up playing ball and are well able to play it, and it’s great to see them coming back. Playing a professional sport is a great life, and seeing that Duffy wants to come back and give his time to GAA just shows his respect to the game and how much he loved it, obviously. Hopefully he gets a good run at it and it will be interesting to see how he goes.”

Brogan has first-hand experience of lining out with an athlete who made his name in another code. He has fond memories of playing beside 48-cap former Irish international and Lions tourist Eric Miller after the flanker had retired from playing rugby in 2006.

“I actually played under him — and I mean under him! — as a corner-forward when he played full-forward, I think it was against Louth. He was the go-to man and I was meant to come around on the burst. But yeah, it was interesting to see. A big, powerful man and well able to win ball in the air. We’d a good bit of craic that day.”

Miller scored in that challenge game and was earmarked for a role in the championship with Dublin the following year but his return ended without that becoming reality.

Meanwhile, Brogan says Dublin are leaving nothing to chance as they prepare for the first game of the defence of their Leinster title, against Laois on June 8.

“We’re taking them as seriously as we’d take an All-Ireland final. I think the last day against Wicklow they had 21 scores and 13 wides, so the style of football they’re playing is more open, more attacking football, which is great to see and is difficult to stop when played well. It’s the style of football that we like to play ourselves. So I think they’ll go at us, they’ve some nice forwards there and they’ll want to express themselves. I’d say it will be a toe-to-toe battle and an interesting one for spectators.”

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