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Morgan Treacy/INPHO Dublin footballer Jonny Cooper pictured at Croke Park yesterday.
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'Alan Brogan still the best man on the pitch in any training session'
The three-time All-Ireland medallist has called time on his Dublin career.

DUBLIN DEFENDER JONNY Cooper has claimed that Alan Brogan was still the most effective player during training and believes he had plenty left to offer at the very top level.

Three-time All-Ireland medallist Brogan, 34 next month, called time on his Dublin career yesterday having kicked what proved to be the insurance score in September’s All-Ireland final defeat of Kerry.

The wily attacker came on with exactly 66 minutes on the clock and 40 seconds later, after helping break up a Kerry goal attack, raced to the other end of the field to kick a hugely important point in a three-point win.

The score brought his overall Championship tally after 13 years of county football to 11-134 and came at the end of a season in which he was used as an impact substitute in all seven of Dublin’s games, scoring 0-6 overall.

Cooper said that he personally saw more than enough to be convinced that there was plenty of life left in Brogan heading into 2016.

Absolutely, another couple of years,” said Cooper. “Alan is (still) the best man on the pitch in any training session in terms of what he offers to the team. His experience was one thing but his technical ability to play and read the game was excellent. Again, you could see that in the point that he scored here in the final under the Hogan Stand with his left foot. He is one of those unique footballers that Dublin had in the last number of years and hopefully he enjoys his time in his well-deserved retirement.”

Cooper smiled at the memory of beginning his own county career with Dublin by marking Brogan in training and he repeated the trauma just months ago ahead of the All-Ireland final.

“I remember marking Alan on my very first day under ‘Pillar’ Caffrey and I marked him in one of his last training sessions too, under Jim Gavin,” said Cooper at the launch of the Bord na Mona Leinster GAA series. “Both situations went very similarly for me! He was just such a wily fox in terms of his movement. Maybe some people did not think he had pace but he made up for it with other great skills and what he had in his brain.”

The Na Fianna man said that Brogan was a rare talent who will go down as one of the great players in Dublin’s history, a figure that will be difficult to replace in the dressing-room.

Alan has an aura about him,” said Cooper. “Only a few players have that and Alan was certainly one of them. Younger guys can take a lot from that, myself included and I would have leaned on Alan’s shoulder and his experience.”

Ironically, just hours before Brogan’s retirement, another colleague, Cian O’Sullivan, said his ‘impression’ was that the St Oliver Plunketts Eoghan Ruadh man, as well as 34-year old Denis Bastick, would stay on.

Cooper admitted that Brogan’s bombshell took him by surprise but agreed with the suggestion that Brogan effectively wrote his own script by retiring as a champion.

“And what a script,” smiled Cooper. “He was Dublin’s main man for 14 years in terms of starting on the team and in terms of doing a job as Jim asked him to do against Kerry, coming off the bench. He came down from the Canal End and went all the way up and put it over with his left foot from under the Hogan Stand. What a script, what a career, what a man! He will go down as one of the legends and greats of Dublin GAA.”

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