Alan Brogan will make a decision on his inter-county future in the coming weeks.
The 2011 footballer of the year hasn’t played for Dublin since coming on as a substitute against Mayo in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final when he was forced to retire through injury.
He eventually returned to the panel for September’s final win over Mayo following a summer plagued by groin and hamstring setbacks.
It’s been a deeply frustrating 18 months for the 32-year-old but he feels his osteitis pubis injury (groin) is behind him and has enjoyed being able to line out for St Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh in recent weeks.
However, he won’t make a call on his Dublin future until next month.
“I have obviously thought about it. My plan was always, not having played a competitive game in 13 or 14 months, to get back playing with the club and I have played two and a half matches now and all is going well enough. I was kind of stiff after that but you would expect that, so we have a couple of games to play yet and if I get through that, we will see then. Maybe I’ll have a chat with the physio and see how things are going.”
Even if he did pick up another All-Ireland medal, Brogan appreciates it wasn’t the way he would like to bow out of the inter-county scene.
That said, he knows what pressure he will be putting his body under to get back to where he wants to be — into a Dublin team where the competition in the forward line is like nothing he has ever experienced.
“If I am going back it is important that I am fully able to commit to it training-wise, and I don’t think I would do myself justice kind of dipping into and out of it.
“It is important that if I do go back, I can give it a full lash so I don’t have to be minding myself. The days of minding yourself and play inter-county football now, particularly at the level we want to play at, are gone.
“I just need to make sure that I am 100% fit and am able for the demands that the game demands.”
Brogan’s aim would be to return to the half-forward line where he was so effective two seasons ago. However, he wouldn’t turn his nose up at a substitute’s role should Jim Gavin offer it.
“I think there’s still a role for me. Whether it’s a starting position or coming in as a sub, it doesn’t matter, the way Jim’s set up the team over the last year. I don’t know but he’s probably used five subs in most games.
“It’s pretty obvious to outsiders his subs are as important to him as his starting 15, sometimes more so.”
Brogan may not have had a playing role this season but he took some satisfaction from mentoring a couple of the younger players like Ciarán Kilkenny.
“Even though I was injured I was training away from March onwards.
“I knew I couldn’t play at that stage so there was other things I could offer around the dressing room. You get a sense of achievement from that.”
He took pleasure too from younger brother Bernard overcoming early-season criticism to come up trumps in the All-Ireland semi-final and final.
“If he has one bad game, very rarely does a second one come.”
Brogan’s sister-in-law’s wedding last weekend knocked the idea of going on the team holiday to Cancun on its head. He didn’t much fancy it anyway: “I think I will take a voucher at Christmas and go away. It will be a bit more peaceful than at Cancun!” But in arranging the team holiday for as early as November, Gavin is clearly thinking of 2014. Brogan concurs: “2011 was the first time for so many of us. Pat Gilroy had been there for three years at that stage so maybe there was a feeling that that’s it, we’ve achieved it now.
“With Jim it’s different in that it’s his first year of a three-year term. He was lucky enough to win it in his first year, and I think he’ll park it once the lads come back from Cancun. The whole thing of Sam Maguire has to be parked too, it can become a distraction. It’s important fellas get a rest in Cancun, rest up over Christmas when they get home, and then get ready for 2014.”
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