DUBLIN’S championship season may have ended with an All-Ireland SFC semi-final defeat to Cork but the next few months may rank as the best of Bernard Brogan’s outstanding career.
An unbackable favourite to be named Footballer of the Year, Brogan could yet make up for his county’s disappointment by claiming honours for both his club and country in the near future.
St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh have never won a county championship but they are through to a semi-final against St Brigid’s thanks to a 16-point defeat of Lucan Sarsfields last weekend.
This week the focus will turn to International Rules and the latest trial match under the guise of Anthony Tohill and his selectors ahead of a double date with the Australians towards the end of October and start of November.
“I haven’t been training with them (Ireland) yet because I had a knock with the club (twisted ankle) I’ve been trying to shake off but this Friday there is another game here and I’m hoping to be ready for that. They seem to be moving well. There’s a panel of 45 or so now that the Cork and Down lads have come into it and they have to cut that in half to finalise the panel so I’m keen to get involved.
“It is a different focus this year, moving from the club championship to playing for Ireland but it would be great. No matter what you are involved in, to represent your country is a great honour and I would love to do it.
“Two years ago we (Plunkett’s) had a championship final replay and I missed three weeks in Oz because of that so it was a tough one but this time I am just really keen to pull on the jersey.”
Dublin’s star man since the spring, he could become the first player since Colm O’Rourke in 1991 to be named as the country’s best footballer despite not having played in that season’s All-Ireland final.
“It would be great to get something like that, to be rubbing shoulders with the greatest players in the history of the game. There are a lot of decisions to be made. It would be nice to get something else out of the year though.”
Four weeks have passed since Pat Gilroy’s side were edged out by Cork in such dramatic circumstances and Brogan knows from bitter experience that such opportunities don’t swing by all that often.
Dublin made little of the low expectations surrounding them to come within a whisker of a first final in 15 years but such a close call will only heighten hopes in 2011 and place further pressure on a maturing squad.
“To be honest, I really thought this was our year so it was devastating to see Cork go on to win but I wouldn’t begrudge them their All-Ireland. I just hope they won’t be as strong next year and we will get our chance.
“They are a serious machine. Their boys are some size and they have a lot of unbelievable footballers. People say they didn’t really perform to their best but they won an All-Ireland and you can’t argue with that.”
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