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He's done the cruciate twice, starred at hurling but now Brady's focused on Dubs football

And the Na Fianna is gearing up for Sunday’s league final against Cork.

Tomas Brady in action against Cork earlier in this year's league.
Tomas Brady in action against Cork earlier in this year's league.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

TOMAS BRADY HAS needed to be patient in kickstarting his Dublin football career.

Life as a Dublin hurler consumed him after he left the underage grades, anchoring the defence when they grasped the league title in 2011.

Later that summer he tore his cruciate in a Leinster semi-final against Galway in Tullamore. He did his rehab and was restored to full fitness before opting to switch allegiances to the county footballers for the 2013 season.

Again he was cursed by injury, the cruciate in his other knee snapping in June 2013 in a training session. Trying to break into an ultra-competitive Dublin senior football side wasn’t easy last year but this spring there have been signs of promise.

“It was a challenge but nowadays you can recover from it compared to 20 years,” outlines Brady. “I was always confident I’d be back and able to play and now thankfully it is 100%.

Tomas Brady leaves the field with an injury Tomas Brady leaves the pitch after tearing his cruciate against Galway in 2011. Source: James Crombie

“Last year I was just back sort of finding my feet. Obviously you don’t have the luxury like with other counties, you might get more of an opportunity but it’s so competitive in Dublin, that you don’t get as much game time coming back from injury.

“This year I’ve a good 14 months of training under my belt so that’ll stand me in good stead coming into the summer to hopefully feature a lot more.”

Trust

He’s been trusted by the Dublin management this year, alternating between midfield and wing-forward in the five games he has started. The last two outings against Monaghan have seen him sprung from the bench. Brady is now more settled at inter-county senior level.

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Tomas Brady under pressure from Oisin Duffy Tomas Brady in action against Derry earlier in this year's league. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“I think this year probably more than the last two years, guys have got an opportunity to stake a claim so I think hopefully I’ll put the hand up and do the best I can in championship.

“I probably played more football in the last few months than I have in the two years before that. You can feel yourself getting sharper and skills that are much more advanced than say they were this time last year.

It’s purely down to staying injury free and consistently training and playing games.

Tomas Brady Tomas Brady (Na Fianna) at last week's launch of the 2015 Dublin GAA club championships. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

His life may be focused on the Dublin footballers but he hasn’t forgotten his former hurling comrades.

“I still have a lot of very good friends there. Just talking (to them) about the setup this year, they all seem to be on their toes.

Ger (Cunningham) has come in and tried new things out and it seems to be working for the most part so far.

“The guys are really enjoying it, I’d always keep an eye out and keep in contact with a few of them regularly.”

Paul Ryan, Alan McCrabbe and Tomas Brady Tomas Brady (right) celebrates Dublin's 2011 hurling league final win. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Brady didn’t feature during Dublin’s 2013 league final win over Tyrone and in last year’s decider he entered the game as a late substitute against Derry. Sunday’s tilt at the three-in-a-row against Cork is something he is relishing.

Rebels

“They (Cork) are probably the form team in the country this year and most consistent. I think they have adapted their style of play and learned a lot of lessons from the Munster final last year.

“They are not as defensive as some teams but they do bring some of their forwards back and try break at pace. Any game between Dublin and Cork is always competitive and it was like that in Pairc Ui Rinn early in the year.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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