Brogan would love to get his hands on medal with Leinster
'I still haven't graced the final of an interprovincial, so I'd love to get my hands on a medal,' said Bernard Brogan yesterday. photograph: inpho
When a player of Bernard Brogan’s calibre talks up the GAA’s interprovincial series, a competition he holds “quite dear”, perhaps there is a future there after all, although not every county, it seems, still shares the enthusiasm of the Dublin forward.
Brogan spoke fairly passionately yesterday about this Sunday’s semi-finals (although that’s all he spoke about, declining to comment on Dublin’s excellent start to the Allianz Football League); it probably helps that the Leinster selection is being managed by former Dublin manager Pat Gilroy, along with his All-Ireland-winning sidekick Mickey Whelan, yet Brogan insists an interprovincial medal would sit nicely on his mantelpiece.
“I still haven’t graced the final of an interprovincial, so I’d love to get my hands on a medal,” said Brogan, fresh from his man-of-the-match performance in fairly hammering Kerry in Killarney last Sunday, where he helped himself to 0-9.
“I know it’s a competition that has been quiet over the years but it’s one that I hold quite dear and I’d love to get a medal.
“I know when my Dad (Bernard snr) was playing years ago, it was a huge event. So bringing the final to Croke Park, with the Crumlin Hospital involved, the volunteers here making sure every penny goes towards the upkeep of the hospital, hopefully people will get behind it.
“It a bigger event, and there should be a bit of buzz about it. I played twice or three times but I’ve never actually made the final. So I’m delighted to be out there on Sunday.”
Set aside Sunday
The GAA already set aside this Sunday exclusively for interprovincial purposes, with semi-finals in both football and hurling: Leinster face Connacht in their football semi-final at Pearse Park, with Armagh’s Athletic Grounds hosting an Ulster-Munster double bill, while the Leinster and Connacht hurling showdown is in Tullamore.
While Gilroy has called on a number of his former Dublin players, the likes of Stephen Cluxton, Rory O’Carroll and Paul Flynn set to feature alongside Brogan, it emerged yesterday the Kildare players would not be making themselves available, for a variety of reasons.
“I know other people have different things on different weekends and I’m sure there is a solid reason there,” said Brogan, diplomatically. “But hopefully the Leinster boys will have a strong a team as we possibly can. I think it’s a great competition and it’s one that has serious history in the GAA and I think it should be respected. Everyone should be able to play.
“I was chatting to the Dublin lads who are going to be playing and they hold it as a fairly serious competition. We’ll be going out there to win, and hopefully make that big day in Croke Park, on the 24th.
“You don’t turn your nose up at playing in Croker, any time. Probably in the past, it was late in the year so many players didn’t want to get behind it but I think that has changed.”
Truth is, however, the Leinster panel will only come together on Saturday afternoon for one pre-game training session, not that Brogan feels Gilroy and Whelan aren’t taking it seriously. “Pat Gilroy wouldn’t be giving up his time for something he didn’t hold quite dear too, so he’s serious about it and giving it a good lash. It’s going to be a good old battle.”
Even though current Dublin manager Jim Gavin raised some concerns about the increasing demands on his players, and that a three-week break in the league should be exactly that, Brogan feels fresh enough and eager enough to make the commitment.
“This year, I’m just happy to get games. I’m just enjoying the football and hopefully, I’ll get another big game the following week. Otherwise, I presume it would just be training. There are cup games with the club and stuff like that but we have three weeks off.”
Brogan did comment on the chances of Gilroy someday returning as Dublin manager: “He’s a brilliant manager and he was unbelievable with us in the time he gave us. I know he is very busy with work but I would say in the future when his workload is less and Dublin need another injection, he could come back. But I think Jim is doing a fine job at the moment and we’re all really happy with how things are going so far.”