‘I THINK ALAN WAS GOOD VALUE FOR AN ALL STAR NOMINATION’

FOR the record, Bernard Brogan was not expecting an All Star nomination. But he reckons the big brother deserved one.

The two siblings have evenly shared six All Star awards and two Footballer of the Year gongs during their decorated Dublin careers but this year, for the first time since 2004, no Brogan has even made the 45-man nominations shortlist.

Bernard is not complaining after a summer that began with injury niggles and culminated in a below-par showing against Donegal. “Disappointed not to be there – didn’t deserve to be there” is his pithy summation.

But what about the brother? “I thought Alan – especially coming back from a year out – played a massive role and showed why he’s been so good for Dublin,” he says.

“So yeah, I was expecting to see him there but I wouldn’t say he’d have envisaged, really, that he would have won one, if you look at the names there – the Flynners the Dermos, the Aidan O’Sheas, the Michael Murphys around the half-forward line.

“It’s a difficult line to break into and win an All Star. I thought he would have been good value for a nomination … it’s a really nice thing to get as a personal accolade but in football it’s all about the medal at the end of the year.”

This is why, even in 2010 when Bernard was Footballer of the Year, it felt strange standing up on that All Stars stage. He took the individual plaudits despite Dublin’s semi-final exit to Cork and was the only Dublin All Star that year … whereas, 12 months later, Alan was one of six Dublin All Stars and honoured as the main man in a year of collective Sky Blue glory.

“We were all there having the craic,” says Bernard, harking back to 2011.

“All Stars night is great but I would have found it’s very much a night for the All-Ireland champions, and rightly so – they usually win six or seven, and the losing finalist would get five or six.

“I came in as being a semi-finalist (in 2010) and was very much there on my own. As I said, it’s an amazing achievement, delighted to have it, something I’m very much proud of. Just, there was a funny feeling to it … it shows the power of the team.”

Speaking of team, Brogan already senses that Dublin are champing at the bit to right the wrongs of their shock semi-final exit to Donegal.

“The learnings you get from losses like that are massive, and that’s the reason I suppose why it’s hard to win back-to-backs,” he reflects.

“If you go two years and you haven’t really been beaten; we had a really good run up until that game, and sometimes when I look back on it I say ‘Jesus, we should have been clued into this’ … you kind of take your eye off it a tiny bit. Someone was telling me that Jackie Tyrrell said when Kilkenny were beaten by Tipp, the hunger you get when you lose is much stronger than the hunger you have when you win, so I really bought into what that said and it stuck with me.

“Like, the hunger that I have now … December is the time when we go back and you’d be mad to go back.

“Last year I had the (groin) operation, I said I’d be okay, come back in the middle of the league and be grand and get going.

“But now, come December, we’ll be gung-ho and everyone on the pitch will be ‘milling’ the training, the morning sessions, doing it all.”

Hunger – the ultimate sauce. (The Herald)
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