'I knew there was the chance of back-to-back All-Irelands. That’s what was sacrificed'

Alan Brogan talks about retirement and what it’s like to analyse your former team-mates in the media.

THIS WEEK LOOKS a little bit different for Alan Brogan.

A year ago he was preparing for what turned out to be his swansong in a Dublin jersey. On Sunday he’ll take his seat in Croke Park alongside his son Jamie, willing the Dubs to victory.

Alan Brogan Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

After spending almost his entire adult life representing his county and dreaming of big days like this, Brogan has reverted to life as a supporter. Back to where it all began.

He was a wide-eyed 12-year-old when he last attended an All-Ireland final as a supporter. It was 1995, when O’Leary and Farrell and Redmond and Sherlock ended a 12-year drought in the capital.

Brogan knows he’ll have that pang of longing when he sees his former teammates enter the cauldron. But he understands that’s all part of dealing with retirement.

“I was in Croke Park this morning and having a look around, thinking wouldn’t it be great to be here again,” says Brogan. “But I can’t really be thinking like that either.

“Once the decision is made, you have to live with the decision. I always knew that the likelihood was that Dublin would be back here again next year.

“When I was weighing up the decision to retire that was on the other side – if you stayed on there was a chance of back-to-back All-Irelands. That’s what was sacrificed.

“I’m 34 now so being out there in Croke Park, it’s a big ask to be making an impact out there. I played for 14 years so I have no complaints.”

Brogan writes a weekly column with the Herald and the Sunday Independent, but he says he turned down approaches for TV work so he could take in Dublin games with his son.

“The media stuff is going well for me. I’m enjoying that but it takes up a bit of time on top of the full-time job. That brings its own challenge, meeting deadlines and stuff.

“I spoke to some of the guys about doing TV this year and I just don’t think I would have had the time to be able to fit it all in.

“I wanted to be able to go to matches with my son Jamie and enjoy that side of things, rather than going to the matches and always be working be working at them.”

Having crossed over to punditry, the St Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh attacker is well aware he now finds himself outside Jim Gavin’s inner sanctum.

“Obviously I still talk to Bernard and I speak to the lads every now and again, but I know how it works.

“There’s a line there that you don’t cross, you just leave the guys to it. I understand that so I generally just leave them to it and hopefully I’ll see them after the match on Sunday.”

Alan Brogan celebrates with the Sam Maguire trophy Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Players-turned pundits often tread carefully when analysing former team-mates. Dublin haven’t lost a competitive game since Brogan stepped away, so it’s been plain sailing for him so far.

“I’m always weary that I’m only gone 6 months so you don’t want to be slating fellas when you are only out of there. Luckily enough Dublin have done quite well in most of their matches so I haven’t had a reason to be too critical of them yet and hopefully that continues into next weekend.

“Its something I’m wary of and if you are going to do the media work you are going to have to be as honest as you can. But at the same time you don’t want to be upsetting lads either.

“Back in 2002 when I started there could be a newspaper article yesterday and nobody would see it again because it would be gone, whereas now it’s up on social media and stuff so that probably brings a bit more pressure.”

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Looking ahead to the game itself, Brogan sees Mayo as “the one team” who have caused Dublin trouble on a consistent basis over the past few years. 

“I think Dublin will win, but they’ll have to grind them down and the game won’t be won until like it was last year in the last few minutes. I think it will go right to the wire.

“Some of their players are starting to come good again. Cillian O’Connor started showed a bit of form in that match, Aidan O’Shea is playing well. Andy Moran is having one of his best years as far back as I can remember.

“One of the things playing against Dublin, it’s important to push up on Cian O’Sullivan to occupy him. If you let him occupy that space in front of the full-back, it’s going to be difficult to break Dublin down.

“They need to get guys one-on-one if they want to have a chance of winning it.”


Alan Brogan was on hand to announce special screenings of the All-Ireland SFC final between Dublin and Mayo in ODEON Cinemas nationwide on Sunday 18th September. ODEON Cinemas are delighted to offer these complimentary cinematic experiences to sports fans and families to enjoy iconic Irish moments in an exciting atmosphere.

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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