GAA | Bernard Brogan announces his Dublin retirement

Bernard Brogan has announced his retirement from inter-county football.

The 35-year-old – who has won seven All-Ireland titles with Dublin – confirmed the news in a lengthy statement on Twitter.

After making his Championship debut in 2007 against Meath, Brogan went on to enjoy an outstanding career for the Boys in Blue, and was named Footballer of the Year in 2010.

Brogan earned an All Star nomination in ’07 as Dublin won their third successive Leinster title, and quickly established himself as one of the star forwards in the country over the next few years, winning five league titles in total.

Brogan was one of Dublin’s most influential players as they ended their 16-year All-Ireland drought that year, though it was his brother Alan who was named Footballer of the Year on this occasion.

Bernard scored two goals in the thrilling one-point 2013 All-Ireland final victory over Mayo in Jim Gavin’s first year at the helm.

The prolific forward plundered two points in the 2015 win over Kerry in the final, winning the Sam Maguire for the third time in four years.

Despite remaining a key player in 2016, Brogan was surprisingly dropped for the All-Ireland final replay victory over Mayo at Croke Park. He came off the bench to score a point as Dublin beat their bitter rivals by a single point once again in the capital.

The four-time All Star winner became more of a squad player in 2017, but came on to help the Dubs see out a victory in the final against Mayo, which Dublin won by a point yet again.

A cruciate ligament injury sidelined Brogan in early 2018, but the veteran forward made a comeback in Dublin’s Super 8s victory over Roscommon.

He remained a largely unused squad player this year, and was omitted from the matchday squad for the All-Ireland final against Kerry.

The 35-year-old made the squad for the replay, however, as Dublin completed an historic five-in-a-row.

He retires after 15 years with the Dubs with a scoring record of 21-197 in the All-Ireland SFC Championship.

“After 15 amazing years on the road, now is the right time for me to hang up the boots and retire from Dublin inter-county football,” Brogan’s statement began.

“My GAA career has always been about the journey, not the destination. I have learnt more from the losses than from the wins, more about myself in times of challenge and injury than in times of success.

“I have built lifelong friendships – forged on what we call our battlefield. I will cherish all these memories, and speak about them for a lifetime but not without mentioning those who raised me upward and onward along the way – whose support I couldn’t have done without.”  

Brogan paid tribute to his parents for their influence and support, and to his brothers for their success together on the field.

His father, Bernard Sr, won three All-Ireland titles with Dublin in the 1970s, while his older brother Alan lifted the Sam Maguire three times with the Dubs (2011, 2013 and 2015).

Bernard’s brother Paul was also a member of the All-Ireland winning panel in 2011.

“Mam and Dad you walked a thousand side lines to support your three sons, a constant source of encouragement in football and in life. We walk on the shoulders of giants, and Dad, your journey before ours spurred and drove us on to try and emulate your success. My brothers, Alan and Paul – who can say they shared their first All-Ireland success with their only siblings. To get it over the line together in 2011 is something we will have to look back on and value even more as time goes by. You have both been huge sources of energy for me and driven me on at times when I needed it most.”

The St Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh forward also thanked the three Dublin managers he worked under – Paul “Pillar” Caffrey, Pat Gilroy and Jim Gavin.

“To Pillar for taking a chance on me, Pat for pushing and moulding me into the footballer I always wanted to be, and to Jim for the education and amazing journey we have had over the last number of years. You all know your impact – and I am forever grateful for our time together.

“To the many members of backroom team I have had the pleasure of learning from and working with – your values, support and guidance to the many groups of young men in your care over the years has more impact than you’ll ever know. You are the backbone of us all, and I cannot thank you enough – great people, true blues.

“To my business partner & cousin Hames and my workmates in Legacy, Peptalk and my public house colleagues in Brogans & Lilly’s – thank you – you’ll see me around a lot more now! My extended family for your support and keeping us all connected during those summer Sundays. To all my friends at home for your loyalty and understanding when I have missed so much.

“The GAA community has given me so much – there are too many to note, but thank you to those in the Dublin County Board for getting me to where I am – for your investment in the youth, you have set the standard for high performance, St Oliver Plunketts ER for the environment to grow and learn, looking forward to more time with you, maybe even with the small ball too.”
Brogan – always a fan favourite – paid tribute to the Dublin fans, who he described as the “greatest fans in the world”, as well as all his Dublin teammates.

“To the Dublin supporters and Hill 16, thank you for the unwavering support during my time playing in blue and never giving up on me in a blue jersey. I have always claimed that you are the greatest fans in the world and you were my last wave walking out of Croke Park.

“To the many Dubs I was lucky enough to call my teammates – thank you all, you are the reason I kept coming back, match days are always great but my memories off the pitch will burn so much brighter. The friendship, the craic, the stories and trips – you changed the game, our time together will be hard to replace, I hope you success continues. I always liked to play the game with a smile. It was when I felt I played my best. I will leave with that smile still there, safe in the knowledge that the jersey is in safe hands.

“I’d also like to thank Paul Flynn and his team in the GPA for their continued support and advocacy on behalf of Gaelic Players all over the country.”

Finally, Brogan paid tribute to his wife Keira, before saying he is happy to now take his place in the stand.  

“Finally, to my wife Keira, for all of your support, patience and counsel over the years; I know we have missed so many special moments and you have carried the load to facilitate endless nights of training and commitments I made on the part of us both. Our beautiful boy and I are so lucky to have you and I cannot thank you enough for the loyalty and commitment to us as a family, and to me and my Dublin dream.

“I gave my all for he cause right to the end and I am happy now to take my place in the stand, back to where it all began for me as a child, with my own father – cheering on the Dubs. I look forward to these same moments with Donagh and Keadan. Onto the next journey.

“Up the Dubs!”