Big brother backs Bernard Brogan to make impact

Alan Brogan didn’t stick around too long when it became apparent he was an impact substitute for Dublin.

Coming up to the 2015 Leinster final it was a straight choice between the 33-year-old, Kevin McManamon and Paddy Andrews for a start in attack.

Jim Gavin chose McManamon and Brogan remained on the bench for the rest of the summer before retiring after the All-Ireland final win.

Bernard Brogan, Alan’s little brother, is 33 now and in a similar position to Alan two years ago.

The former Footballer of the Year didn’t start their Leinster opener against Carlow and may very well have to settle for a bench role against Westmeath on Sunday.

“I wouldn’t say he was that surprised that he wasn’t starting against Carlow,” said Alan.

“At this stage of his career, he would probably know it was coming at some stage, that he might have to make an impact off the bench.

“In fairness to him, he has a very good temperament about stuff like that. He’s not one to throw the toys out of the pram if he’s not playing.

“He knows at this stage that he probably has another year or two.”

Diarmuid Connolly’s retrospective 12-week suspension for minor physical interference with a linesman in that win over Carlow may have forced management into a rethink. Brogan scored two points when he came on and with Connolly now out of the picture, an in-form and experienced forward like Brogan would be a near like for like replacement.

Andrews, Conor McHugh, Paul Flynn and Cormac Costello are fighting for that same jersey though Alan insisted Bernard will be happy to join the battle.

“Bernard will keep fighting for a starting spot for sure but ultimately he’ll keep doing what he has to do for the team, whatever that is,” he said. “Even though he has probably been one of our most ruthless forwards over the last few years, he is quite selfless in that regard.

“He will put the team before himself, there wouldn’t be a hope that he’d let his own situation affect him or let it affect the group. He’ll do whatever he has to do, coming off the bench or starting.”

Finding an interim replacement for Connolly and keeping a high-achieving player like Brogan happy on the bench are among the headaches for the Dublin management.

Settling on a midfield partner for Brian Fenton is another.

Ciaran Kilkenny performed the role against Carlow and played well though James McCarthy, initially named to start at midfield that day, Denis Bastick or Flynn, if fit, could all start there also.

“I would have thought Paul Flynn would have been the obvious candidate for midfield,” said Alan.

“I think we might see him there as the summer goes on. Paul is known for playing wing-forward but his whole game is based on high intensity and he’s 31 or 32 now and probably can’t play at that same level for the full 70 minutes.

“I think if he plays midfield it’s not as much up and down the field as when you’re playing wing-forward, chasing after defenders, so I think that role might just suit him.

“James McCarthy could equally do the same role, depending on who is injured and who is available and Ciaran is obviously there at the moment.

“Any one of those three would be a good partner for Brian.”


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