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'I’m long enough in the tooth to know what it takes to win an All-Ireland. It’s a team game'

Bernard Brogan took his exclusion on the chin and kicked an important score when he was introduce in the second-half.

JIM GAVIN MADE three important selection calls before Saturday’s final replay, and his brave moves were vindicated as Dublin wrapped up their fourth All-Ireland title in six years.

Bernard Brogan celebrates after the game Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Michael Fitzsimons followed in the footsteps of hurlers Kieran Joyce (2014), Shane O’Donnell (’13) and Walter Walsh (’12), by winning man-of-the-match in the replay after failing to start the drawn final.

Gavin also dropped two former Footballers of the Year, Michael Darragh MacAuley and Bernard Brogan, in favour of Paddy Andrews and Paul Mannion.

MacAuley and Brogan arrived off the bench, along with the immaculate Cormac Costello, to see Dublin over the line.

It was a new experience for Brogan, who didn’t miss a single minute of Dublin’s last three All-Ireland finals in ’11, ’13 or ’15.

But he was happy enough to accept his new role and contribute to the winning effort.

“Look, I’m long enough in the tooth to know what it takes to win an All-Ireland,” Brogan said. “It’s a team game. You look at us over the years and the impact we’ve had off the bench; the likes of Kev Mac [McManamon] and fellas like that.

“This year…that was the role I had to take. The way teams are playing against Dublin now, it’s hard for an inside forward to have a massive impact.

“It’s all about legs,” he continued. “It’s all about movement. And the other lads were showing a bit better coming into the replay.

“Paddy obviously had a great day the last day. He was worth his place. So that’s football. I knew I was going to get a few minutes and I had to try and make an impact when I did.

“So it was just great to be involved with it. Look, it’s great. A fourth All-Ireland. I never would have dreamed of it when I was a kid.”

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Brogan (32), Stephen Cluxton (34), Paul Flynn (30), Eoghan O’Gara (30) and MacAuley (30) are among an older guard entering the twilight of their highly successful careers.

Before last Saturday, three Dublin footballers had won four All-Ireland medals. Now, that list has swelled to 16, with Brogan among them.

He kicked just two points in Dublin’s previous three games against Donegal, Kerry and Mayo, but had a more decisive impact last Saturday.

Bernard Brogan and Brendan Harrison Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

His left-footed point soon after he was summoned from the bench was Dublin’s first score in 12 minutes, and first from play in 20 minutes. The Sky Blue machine clicked back into gear after that and a quick-fire double by Costello set them on the road to victory.

“I’m getting a bit older now. You have to cut your cloth to measure. You have to look at lads on the bench there – Cormac Costello came on today, he hasn’t been in the mix.

“But he’s showing really well in training over the last week. And that’s all you can ask for as a player; when you’re showing well, you get the nod.

“Paddy was moving well, Mannion was flying. All these players. It’s so hard in the inside line. There’s six or seven lads who would get on any inter-county team. You have to do your bit for the team.

“And if that means sitting aside for a while and give 20 minutes, that’s what you have to do. I’m mature enough to accept that. And to be delighted to be on the winning side. Delighted to get out of there.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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