Bernard Brogan basks in after glow of All-Ireland SFC success
All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final replay: Dublin 1-15 Mayo 1-14
HANGING around the Dublin team bus on the ground floor of the Hogan Stand is normally a no-go zone for journalists – but Saturday evening was different.
If you’re not going to talk after claiming back-to-back All-Ireland titles when are you going to talk?
The game-faces were gone. This was open season.
The Dublin players, legends of the modern era, posed for endless photographs from well-wishers and they didn’t duck any microphones.
Bernard Brogan wore the broadest of smiles after collecting his fourth Celtic Cross in a fantastic career with the Sky Blues.
But the Plunkett’s clubman had to absorb the disappointment of losing his place in the starting XV for Saturday’s All-Ireland final replay.
Boss Jim Gavin opted for the freshness of Paul Mannion before Brogan entered Saturday’s epic replay in the 46th minute to reinvigorate the Dublin attack.
“That’s the role I had to take,” he said.
“The way teams are playing against Dublin now it’s hard for inside forwards to make a massive impact.
“It’s all about legs; it’s all about movement. The other lads were showing a bit better. Paddy [Andrews] had a great day [from the bench] the last day and was worth his place.
“I knew I was going to get a few minutes and it was all about trying to make an impact when I came on. I was glad to get involved when I came on and it’s great to get a fourth All-Ireland. I would never have dreamed of it as a kid.”
The game-changer for the Dubs was another substitute, Cormac Costello, who bagged three second-half points that went a long way to breaking Mayo’s stubborn resistance.
Now 32, Brogan was pragmatic enough to realise he is no longer a regular starter in the Dublin attack.
“I’m getting a bit older now and you’ve to cut your cloth to measure. The lads on the bench there, Cormac Costello came off the bench, who hasn’t been in the mix, was showing really well in training, and that’s all a team can really ask for. If you’re going well you get the nod.
“Paddy Andrews was moving well and [Paul] Mannion was flying and [Eoghan] O’Gara. There are six or seven lads that would get on any team in the country so you just have to do your bit for the team, sit aside for a while and take 20 minutes.
“I’m mature enough to accept that and just to be on the winning side at the end of the day.”
Brogan might be the wrong side of 30 but he has no intentions of retiring from the inter-county scene.
“I’ll play until I’ve nothing extra to add and if there are other people that can add more,” he said.
“I still think I have something to add, so I’m not going anywhere, unless Jim has other ideas.”
He added: “In fairness to Jim, he played his cards right today – Costello scoring three points and Mick [Michael Dara MacAuley] was terrific going through the middle and the four or five points we got at the end, he was involved in all of them. That’s what you want from your team. That’s what got us here and got us over the line.
“Most teams have great players but it’s the teams that have that little bit extra in the squad that carries over a long year. We’ve been training 10 months – it’s October now – and
you need that depth to make an impact.”
And with that, Dublin’s golden boy was gone, into the night, basking in the afterglow of being a back-to-back All-Ireland winner.