THE ‘closed season’ may be just around the corner but Alan Brogan believes that some of the country’s top footballers are close to burnout due to a combination of club, county and national commitments.
Brogan will not play in Ireland’s two-test series against the Australians, chiefly because of St Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh’s pursuit of a first Dublin SFC title, but others face a difficult juggling act in the weeks ahead.
“The way it’s played at the moment, it’s putting a lot of pressure on guys who are still involved with their clubs,” said Brogan. “I don’t have to look any further than home. In Bernard’s case, he’s out with (Ireland) twice at the weekend.
“He’s trying to train and play with Plunkett’s and he’s carrying knocks out from the summer as well. They talk about player welfare and there certainly is an issue there for top players after a long hard year with their county teams.”
The Dublin county final is set for the same weekend as the first Rules test. Board chiefs have agreed in principal to bring forward the decider if one or more of their representatives faces an overlap but such scheduling headaches aren’t unique to that scenario.
The elder of the two Brogans had his own taste of just such a spike in the demand for his services when the Dublin championship resumed only four days after the county side’s agonising one-point All-Ireland semi-final loss to Cork.
“Crazy,” was his description of that decision. “That was tough. We beat Sylvester’s after extra-time. There’s no question that the fact we had four or five guys who had played the previous Sunday was a big factor in that game.
“Thankfully, we got over it. We got a couple of weeks to gather our thoughts and we found a bit of form in the last round. We played well (against Lucan). It was probably the best we played in a few years so we are in a good place.”
They are that.
Plunkett’s have never won a senior county title. The closest they came was two years ago when Kilmacud Crokes edged them in a final replay before going onto claim the provincial and national club titles.
The club’s latest claim for an elusive first title sees them face near-neighbours St Brigid’s in Parnell Park in one of the semi-finals this weekend and Brogan is leaving nothing to chance in his ambition to break that duck.
“A lot of my pals would be Brigid’s. We live in Brigid’s catchment area so there’s a lot of rivalry there. “There wouldn’t be any bad blood or anything but there would be a friendly rivalry.
“We’ve been knocking on the door three or four times and we have been close enough to it. I decided not to play (International Rules) because of other things going on in my life as well but also to concentrate on the club. Sometimes it can be difficult for club guys when you’re coming back after the inter-county season and flitting in and out of training sessions.
“I wanted to give the club a good lash this year.”
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