Bernard Brogan denies Dublin’s success due to financial resources
Four-time All-Ireland winner critical of black card but would support use of a video referee
Bernard Brogan: “I don’t think it’s money, I think it’s about the structures.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Four-times All-Ireland medal winner Bernard Brogan has dismissed accusations that some of Dublin’s success in recent years was down to the huge financial resources they can draw upon from sponsors compared to other counties.
Brogan, who was omitted from this year’s All-Star nominations, believes Dublin’s success in winning the All Ireland championship for the past two years comes down to the structures and coaching that have put in place at all levels.
Speaking in his capacity as president of the Federation of Irish Sport, which yesterday launched their Sport Industry Awards, Brogan said that the GAA’s black card system has not worked and that he would support the use of a video replay to aid referees.
“Dublin has always had more money because they’re the capital,” said the 32-year-old who will continue to play at county level. “Fifty years ago or 100 years ago they would have always had more money. I don’t think it’s money, I think it’s about the structures."
“The U-13, U-14 team has Jason Sherlock as manager with David Henry, I know Collie Moran has the team above that. I think Ciarán Whelan has one, Paddy Christie is involved. These are all players who do it for nothing that are heroes of the game and they go back and give up their Saturday or Sunday morning from eight o’clock on.
“I’d say there’s not another county in the country that has every age group that has legends of the game that have played for years and been looked up to by kids. Imagine if Jason Sherlock was your coach at U-13, you’d be breaking yourself to impress him.
“Money, what does it give you? We haven’t been away at all for a training camp at all, we go down the country. Every other team has gone to Spain and Portugal and all this stuff. So there’s loads of teams that have money to do that and resources to do things. There’s no one that doesn’t have a pitch and a set of balls and jerseys that they can’t go out and train.”
Brogan referenced the incident involving Dublin’s James McCarthy that he believes was a bad call. He said black cards haven’t worked, while a video referee would take 30 seconds to sort out confused incidents, where several things are happening at once.
It would, he argues, lead to less controversy and help referees make correct calls under pressure.
Half-back McCarthy’s body-check on Cillian O’Connor was spotted by the linesman in the drawn All-Ireland final against Mayo and McCarthy was sent to the line. Paddy Andrews arrived onto the field to replace the Ballymun defender.
“The black card, I wouldn’t say it’s worked,” says Brogan. “There’s been so many instances when it should have been called and it hasn’t been called. And some of the instances when it has, it’s probably a yellow card. It’s very grey.
“James McCarthy’s one . . that was a bad call in my book. He ran into a guy but that is the physical game that we play. When lads step up to each other they are going to hit each other. Okay, if you were running through on goal and someone ankle-taps someone, it’s a black card. It’s about getting it right.”
The corner forward might also have remembered an incident minutes before McCarthy’s dismissal when Michael Darragh Macauley was fortunate to remain involved after his trip on Lee Keegan as he raced forward.
“That’s an option. That would be my choice,” says Brogan of the video replay. The TMO system would at least bring clarity and in professional rugby, tennis and cricket it has been seen to enhance the enjoyment of spectators, while also largely satisfying players.
“Just take 30 seconds and go up and have a look in the video,” he says.
“We can all see the replay. It takes the human error out of referees’ calls sometimes. If it’s a big call take it up to the video ref. That could be a really good option. I’m sure it has been talked about many times but that could be a great one.”
Stoic when left out of the starting team for the replay against Mayo, Brogan’s appetite hasn’t diminished. It was, he says, a hallmark of the system with six players in the mix for the full forward line.
“Jim gave respect,” he says. “Jim took me aside and just said ‘this is the way we think is the route for the game’, and I just said ‘no problem’.”
But he’s not about to hand over the shirt too easily. Another season for Brogan is also no problem.