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Brogan: Croker's a level playing field for all counties

Bernard Brogan doesn’t agree that playing regularly in Croke Park gives Dublin an unfair advantage.

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

DUBLIN DON’T HAVE an unfair advantage by playing their championship games at “home” in Croke Park, according to star forward Bernard Brogan.

The Dubs kicked off their All-Ireland defence with a facile 16-point win against Louth on a rainy Sunday at Headquarters but just 31,530 turned out for the double-header which also featured Longford and Wexford.

Pat Gilroy’s men played all six of their championship games in Croker last season and, barring a premature exit from the Leinster championship into the qualifiers, are again unlikely to find themselves in the smaller provincial grounds this summer.

But faced with claims that playing on the hallowed turf favours him and his teammates, Brogan insists most counties would choose to play in the Dubs’ backyard given the opportunity.

“If I could play there every day I would,” the 2010 footballer of the year said. “I think other teams love it as well.

I think other teams always raise their game when they come to Croke Park. If you ask anyone if they’d rather play down the country or want to play in Croke Park, I’d say 99% of them would want to play on the big day in Croker. As a footballer, that’s what you want to aspire to, you want to be there in front of the big crowd in Croker.

I don’t think you’d get too many complaints from teams we play because it’s in our backyard. It’s a big wide pitch and whoever works hard out there will get the rewards and whoever wants it more on the day will get it. I wouldn’t see it as an advantage. As a footballer, we all want to play there and any footballer will say the same.

Sunday’s crowd was the lowest turnout to see the Dubs in the Leinster Championship since they met Westmeath in 2000, but Brogan maintains that the empty stands were due to the busy bank holiday weekend rather than any complacency by supporters as the team chase their seventh provincial title in eight seasons.

“It was a busy weekend — it was a bank holiday weekend, we had the [Bavaria City] racing in town, there were a couple of festivals on so it was never going to be a huge crowd, but it was great to be out there.

“Running out into Croke Park, it was great to be back.”

  • adidas ambassador Bernard Brogan was speaking to launch the next installment of the world’s most iconic boot, the Predator® Kicking Boot.  The new Predator® Kicking Boot boot will debut on pitch this weekend and be available from sports stores nationwide from August 2012.

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Niall Kelly

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