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Bernard Brogan | The cruelty of finding yourself outside of the 26-man squad


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An unused substitute as Dublin secured an historic fifth All-Ireland title in succession, Bernard Brogan discussed his opening day absence and the fresh perspective it has afforded him. 

The recipient of a seventh All-Ireland title when Dublin overcame Kerry in a replayed final, Bernard Brogan appreciates that few within the GAA will have too much sympathy for what has been a largely unsatisfying year on the pitch.

Dropped from the panel for Dublin's semi-final clash with Mayo and the resulting final, Brogan, who's involvement with the county in a starting capacity has been waning in recent seasons, nevertheless felt upset at the prospect of missing out on what looked to be a momentous day for Dublin football.

"After the call from Jim," he explained to Off the Ball, "I just rang Ciara, my wife.

"I tried to be positive, but I was very upset. It's an All-Ireland final, and not to be there with the lads after working so hard..."

An unusual experience for the celebrated footballer, no amount of previous success prepared Brogan for the prospect of watching on from afar.

"I wasn't sure how to approach the game," he admitted, "there were a couple of beers the night before, but I didn't go too mad, just in case.

"It was a weird sensation, but there are eight or nine other lads who have to do the same, and I've just been lucky enough not to have been in that position that often."

Left to his own devices on the day of the match, even getting to his seat came with certain issues.

"I drove in with Ciara and the lads," he recalled, "and parked up across from Gill's pub.

"I had my sunglasses on and we walked quickly, each of us had one of the lads each and we legged it through.

Bernard Brogan would be offered a chance of redemption, and although he would retake his place on the panel for the replayed final, that experience of very nearly missing out entirely has stuck with him.

"To get in," he noted, "someone else has to move and that is the reality of the 26-man panel.

"It's actually a ridiculous thing having lived through it. When you have 33 lads in training killing themselves, and there are five seats behind you in the dugout that are free.

"When you're playing you don't really worry about it, but to be left behind after training it is so hard. The least they could do is bring you on the day."

You can watch Bernard Brogan's interview with Off the Ball in full here

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Bernard Brogan Dublin GAA Gaelic Football Jim Gavin

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