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'It's amazing, I was 10 years before I managed to even feature in a final' - Brogan's Dublin wait
Forget lifting Sam, for a long time reaching a final was beyond Alan Brogan.

Alan Brogan celebrates late in the game James Crombie / INPHO Dublin's Alan Brogan celebrates their semi-final replay win over Mayo. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

HIS STUBBORN REFUSAL to quit has been rewarded.

Alan Brogan and his Dublin teammates are preparing for their third All-Ireland final in five years, a golden run of marquee days that the 33 year-old could once only dream of.

Brogan first embarked on his Dublin senior career back in 2002 and for a long time even competing in a final was a prize beyond him, let alone managing to lift Sam.

He was thwarted on several occasions in his attempts to reach a September decider:

Fans after the game 1/9/2002 DIGITAL INPHO Dublin fans dejected after their 2002 loss to Armagh INPHO

  • 2002: Dublin 1-13 Armagh 1-14 – All-Ireland semi-final
  • 2003: Dublin 0-11 Armagh 0-15 – All-Ireland round 3 qualifier
  • 2004: Dublin 1-8 Kerry 1-15 – All-Ireland quarter-final
  • 2005: Dublin 1-14 Tyrone 2-18 – All-Ireland quarter-final replay
  • 2006: Dublin 2-12 Mayo 1-16 – All-Ireland semi-final
  • 2007: Dublin 0-16 Kerry 1-15 – All-Ireland semi-final
  • 2008: Dublin 1-8 Tyrone 3-14 – All-Ireland quarter-final
  • 2009: Dublin 1-7 Kerry 1-24 – All-Ireland quarter-final
  • 2010: Dublin 1-14 Cork 1-15 – All-Ireland semi-final

Dublin supporters dejected Donall Farmer / INPHO Dejected Dublin fans after their 2010 loss to Cork Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

But in the twilight of his career, three-time Allstar Brogan has finally become a main player on the biggest stage.

“It’s amazing. I’ve often said it to the guys, I was 10 years before I managed to even feature in a final.

“I know they look like they’re coming quick and fast at the moment but it hasn’t always been that way.

“It’s important while we’re at the top that we’re making the most of it and obviously we’re trying to put medals in the back pocket.”

Bernard, Paul and Alan celebrate with the Sam Maguire James Crombie The Brogan brothers Bernard, Paul and Alan celebrate with the Sam Maguire in front of Hill 16 in 2011. James Crombie

Did he ever lose hope during that streak of setbacks?

“I think we never really thought about it like that. I think we just took it one game at a time, one year at a time.

“For a long time, it looked like we’d never get to an All-Ireland final. In 2011, it was probably just a sense of relief as anything else, that we managed to get there, particularly for the older guys in the panel that had been there for so long.

“I think there’s a new bunch of players and they’re very used to this sort of success now. It’s what they expect of each other.”

Alan Brogan Cathal Noonan / INPHO Dublin's Alan Brogan Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

Brogan and his teammates had to absorb some harsh lessons along the way but gradually they felt they were inching closer.

“Maybe from 2006, 2007 on we thought we were close. We lost a couple of close semi-finals.

“If we’d got over Mayo (in 2006), we mightn’t have beaten Kerry but at least we’d have got into that final, the monkey off the back.

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Alan Brogan and Peadar Gardiner Cathal Noonan / INPHO Alan Brogan and Keith Higgins in opposition in the 2006 All-Ireland semi-final Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

“Games obviously like the five goals we conceded against Meath, that was a big turning point for us. That was a bit of a shock to the system.

“But we always thought we could contend.”

In 2011 when Dublin achieved the Holy Grail, Brogan was pulling the strings and wound up the best footballer in the land at the season’s end.

In 2013, it was a different story as he shared in victory after a year scarred by personal injury ordeals.

Alan Brogan lifts the Sam Maguire cup Cathal Noonan / INPHO Alan Brogan lifts Sam Maguire in 2013. Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

“I got fit about the start of August but then I tore my hamstring and got back to for the final.

“I was in quite good form for the final but it would have been a big ask to go straight into an All-Ireland final when you’re first (back).

“Jim has built this thing about the 30, and everyone feels they are part of it. The success of this squad is not built in Croke Park, it’s built out on the training pitches, that’s where the real team is built.”

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