BERNARD BROGAN PLANS to meet Jim Gavin next week but has yet to make a final decision on his future with Dublin. 

The 35-year-old made just one championship appearance for Dublin this summer and is expected to call time on his career this winter after winning his seventh All-Ireland title.

But Brogan says he hasn’t decided yet about retirement and will go into the conversation with Gavin with an open mind. 

“I’m meeting Jim next week to have a chat about it,” he said during an interview with Off The Ball today. 

“I’m 35 years of age. As of two weeks ago, I’m probably playing the best football I’ve played in five years. I’m looking forward to club championship at the weekend so we’ll see how that goes. 

“We obviously got over the line, we did the amazing five-in-a-row and all that. So there’s different challenges, different pressures. It’ll be a relaxed environment now.

“I’m just going to have a chat with Jim to see. I’m not 100% sure. I’ve to chat with (my wife) Keira, she’s the main gatekeeper in all this. But no, she’d never stand in the way of the passion. It’s just about making the right decision for myself, my work and all that.” 

Asked if there’s a chance he could make a surprise return in 2020, Brogan responded: “I’m not sure, I’m not sure to be honest. I want to get through the club stuff.

“We’re in a dog-fight, we’ve the last game of the group on Saturday night with Plunketts against Raheny. The mighty Brian Howard and Brian Fenton we have to deal with. So we’ll have a tough day out there. 

“I want to get through that for the next few weeks. But I want to meet Jim and have an honest conversation with him and not come into the meeting (going), ‘This is what’s happening.’ Just have a chat with him and as I said when I got injured, ‘Let’s just war game it.’ Whatever result will be, will be.

“We’ll have an open and frank conversation but I’m not going to go in with a decision made. Because Jim has been a big part of my career for a long time and we’ve won six All-Irelands together.

“I was actually part of his first (All-Ireland) U21 win in 2003, someone reminded me he was actually the manager for Dublin’s first U21 title and Alan (Brogan) was the captain. I was part of that as well so we go back a long way.”

Brogan was left out of Dublin’s matchday panel for the drawn All-Ireland final but made the 26 for the replay. He failed to appear off the bench, while Diarmuid Connolly was introduced at half-time in the win over Kerry. 

Diarmuid Connolly during the All-Ireland final replay.

Brogan admitted Connolly’s return during the summer was “tough for me” but he understood Gavin’s decision.

“He felt that was the right thing to give the team a bit of an extra angle. That’s his decision as manager, he’s just trying to get the best of what’s out there. 

“It was tough for me, he didn’t take my exact place but he did take a place on the bus and then a place on the team. In theory it’s another body in the way of me, but I’ve kind of gone past the personal…I’ve had the days of personal glory.

“But yeah you definitely want to be on the bus, it’s a tough place to be being left at home. But as long as the team gets over the line it will all be forgotten about in time. As long as you know you’ve added something, I’m comfortable with that.”

He bore no ill will towards Gavin after he failed to make the bench on the first day.

“I tried to look at it from both sides. Is there room for sentiment? Is there room for romance? I’m a romantic, I am. I’m not going to say (I’m not). Jim knows I am and I’ve said it to him in feedback loads of times. 

“When he rang me for the Kerry game I said to him, ‘I know you’ve to make the right calls for the team. I know you’re making them for the team, so you can give your best opinion on what the team should be on the day.’ It’s not a personal vendetta, I don’t think.

“He said it in training after a couple of the sessions when he makes calls and meets people before training, he’s come into the team meeting and said, ‘That’s been a tough, tough day.’ So he’s human as well, he doesn’t like making the calls.

“We all like to have the nice part of it, we don’t like to make the tough calls. But he takes his responsibility well and makes the calls he believes are the right ones. He says himself, he doesn’t have all the answers he just tries to make them for the best interests of the team.”

The 2010 Footballer of the Year recalled the unusual experience of heading to Croke Park for the drawn game when he wasn’t part of the Sky Blues squad. 

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“I wasn’t sure how to approach the game. I had a couple of beers the night before, I didn’t go too mad just in case I got the call. I felt like bringing the boots in with me.

“It was obviously a weird sensation, your team and the lads you go training with week-in,  week-out not to be there, but there’s eight or nine other lads who had to do the same.

“I’ve been lucky enough not to be in that position too often. It was tough one. I brought the twins in and Keira. Littlewoods work with us in Legacy and we went in with them to the (corporate) box.

“I wanted to stay out of the madness. I drove in with Keira and the lads, parked up across from Gills pub. I had my sunglasses on and we walked quickly. We had a kid each and we were just legging it through. I was a nervous wreck watching the game.”

Once the final whistle went, Brogan “was energised” by the prospect of getting another stab at making the matchday panel. 

“I knew there were opportunities, chances missed, opportunities for us to win – and lose. It was an opportunity for a striker to get in and do a job. That’s all how I saw it.

“I put down the bottle I had and said that’s the end of them.”

Reflecting on the meeting with the Dublin boss ahead of the replay, Brogan remarked he nearly “fell off the chair” when he was told he’d be involved.

“I met him before the session. He rang me and I said, ‘I’d prefer to meet you in person.’ I was in (the middle of) a bit of work so I said, ‘I can’t take a call now I’ll meet you, I’ll be down early at 5pm.’

“I went in and we had a chat. The usual, (he was saying), ‘You know how much I respect you as a footballer…’ And I’m kind of going, ‘Yeah, I’ve heard this one before – the nice slant before he gives you the bad news.’

Dublin’s Bernard Brogan arrives ahead of the Super 8s game in Omagh.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“He went on and said, ‘You’ve worked really hard, you’ve been so positive, you’re talking in meetings, you’re doing this, that and the other…so you’re in.’

“So I nearly fell off the chair. I was expecting the worst. Training had gone well on the Saturday but you never know because to get in somebody has to move. That’s the reality of the 26, I think it’s actually a ridiculous thing having lived through it.

“You’ve 33 lads training and killing themselves and there’s five seats behind you in the dugout that are free. It’s madness. When lads are giving their lives to something. If you’re playing you don’t really worry about it but when you’ve actually lived through it…to be left behind after training is so hard.

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“Having given everything to an amateur sport, to represent your parish, club and county. God, the least they could do is bring you on the day.”

Brogan also gave an insight into the commitment that comes with playing for Dublin. 

“Every Tuesday, Thursday training, and Monday night in the gym. Saturday and Sunday mornings from 9am until 1pm, 9am until 3pm somedays. The hours that go into it are frightening.

“You go on a Tuesday and you think it’s just training on a Tuesday night, you land there at 5pm for a 6pm meeting. Obviously half an hour of prep and talking and you’re not home until 9.30pm, 10pm. You’re just missing so much.

“In fairness to Jim he’s always tried to get the balance right and try to reward (the families). So on our team holidays we always have family, he sends gifts back to the girls whenever he can. Because he understands the sacrifice, he’s been there as a player and he’s been a manager for a long time.

“It’s more of a sacrifice at home. What Jim actually says is they’re the ones that make the sacrifice, we do what we love. We get to play football and we do it five times a week. They’re at home living the reality.”

Watch the full interview with Brogan below:

Source: Off The Ball/YouTube

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