Fit-again Alan will be ‘an extra bullet’ in Dublin’s gun

Bernard Brogan says brother Alan is ready to make his comeback in Dublin’s All-Ireland quarter-final next month.

Side by side: Bernard, left, with Alan during the 2012 Championship.
Side by side: Bernard, left, with Alan during the 2012 Championship.
Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

BERNARD BROGAN SAYS big brother Alan will roll back the years and give the Dubs an extra dimension in their chase for the All-Ireland.

The elder Brogan was missing last Sunday as Dublin completed a historic provincial double and added another Leinster football title to their new hurling crown.

A recurring groin injury has sidelined him since last September but, after a series of false dawns, the 2011 Footballer of the Year is set to finally return in time for the All-Ireland quarter-finals on the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Brogan took another step towards full fitness with 70 minutes for his club last week but now he faces his next big challenge: forcing his way back into an attack that has been firing on all cylinders without him.

Ciaran Kilkenny’s meteoric rise continued with a man of the match performance against Meath, the youngster pulling the strings from Brogan’s usual spot at centre forward and lifting Dublin spirits with three rapid-fire scores early in the second half.

But despite the fierce competition for manager Jim Gavin’s attention, Bernard believes his brother’s return will give Dublin even more momentum.

“It’s great to have him coming back in hopefully for a few minutes the next day,” he said yesterday. “It’ll give us that extra dimension that defences will have to try to stop.

“He adds a new dimension. He runs all day and he’s able to pick those passes as well and get inside the defence and take a score as well.

He’s another problem that maybe teams aren’t worried about because he hasn’t been there so far. He gives us an extra bullet in the gun that when things are going one way, you can bring him on and he’ll add a new dimension like Kevin McMenamon does for the team, that allows you to change the focus of the attack.

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Brogan also revealed the determination shown by Alan to get himself right following a disheartening series of scans, injections and operations.

“A lot of other people probably would have thrown their hat at it, saying 10 months and I’m not right, but he stuck at it and wants to be there. It is great for us to see that he still has the appetite for it.

It has been hugely frustrating but he is at the end of it and has come out the other side of it. He will be full of exuberance and full of energy coming into this team, he will be mad to be involved. He hasn’t played ball in a long time and it will be like he is 21 again.

As well as Alan’s imminent return, All-Ireland winning captain Bryan Cullen and Denis Bastick both came off the bench against Meath and again showcased the depth of experience available to Gavin as he faces into a crucial August and September.

“Denis came on the last day and he was an animal,” Brogan said. “He was running around the place like a blue-arsed fly. He’s eager to impress as well and he played really well.

“At the end of the day, these lads have been there and done it. They’ve the experience and it’s about getting the balance right, lads with experience and lads with youth, talent and exuberance.

He added: “The competition is unbelievable and the bench, you can’t take your eye off it, but at the end of the day it’s all about the team and we’re happy with whoever is on the pitch as long as you win the game.

We’ll all have an All-Ireland medal and it doesn’t matter who kicks it over the bar, who gets on for 10 minutes or 20 minutes.

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