“You can’t have one rule for a young lad and another rule for an older guy. That’s ageism!”
Bernard Brogan enjoyed a decorated career with Dublin, winning seven All-Irelands. Six of those were under the stewardship of Jim Gavin.
However, their relationship wasn’t always smooth sailing with Gavin famously dropping Brogan for the 2019 final against Kerry. The game finished as a draw and the St. Oliver Plunketts man did enough in the next two weeks to earn his place on the panel for the replay.
Brogan Gavin meeting.
Back at the start of 2018, the 2010 Footballer of the Year demanded to meet Gavin in the Westin Hostel, just off O’Connell Bridge. Brogan wasn’t happy with starting most of the latter stages of the championship on the bench in 2017, despite contributing when called upon.
In his autobiography, ‘The Hill’ with Kieran Shannon, Brogan recalls the meeting. He wasn’t happy with the lack of communication.
Brogan said: “Jim, I felt disrespected, I come on and kick five points in the Leinster final, and you don’t think to tell me in advance that I’m not starting the next day.”
“I think I’ve still got a lot to add. I feel fit, I feel strong, I feel like I can offer something different than forwards who are there. But you have to give me the same opportunity as you’d give a young lad who’s just come in.”
One of Brogan’s rivals for a starting berth was Con O’Callaghan who scored crucial goals at the start of the 2017 semi-final and final against Tyrone and Mayo respectively. Brogan still felt frustrated that he wasn’t given the same opportunities as the Cuala man due to his age.
The four-time All star winner told Gavin: “Con O’Callaghan plays well in training and he gets to start the next day. But that doesn’t happen with me because you’ve seen me for ten years.”
“If I’m playing as well as anyone in training, you have to play me. And if I’m not playing well in the match, then take me off!
“But you can’t have one rule for a young lad and another rule for an older guy. That’s ageism!”
Brogan’s plea to Gavin seemed to have worked as he was due to start a Saturday night league game against Donegal in Croke Park. He had also been picked to take the frees for the first time since the 2014 All-Ireland defeat to Donegal.
However, disaster struck at the last training session before that game as the St. Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh clubman tore his cruciate and would miss 23 weeks of action. He would return for the Super 8s game against Roscommon later that year but didn’t make the 26 man panel for the All-Ireland final against Tyrone.
Bernard Brogan retirement.
When Brogan announced his inter-county retirement after winning the five-in-a-row with Dublin, Jim Gavin released a statement praising the forward for his years of dedication to Dublin GAA.
Gavin said: “Bernard has had a long and distinguished inter county career representing the county of Dublin, notably at senior level for over 15 seasons.
“A great leader of the team, Bernard inspired those around him by his actions, resolve and determination to be the best player that he could be for Dublin.
“Bernard is an immense credit to his family, friends and club St Oliver Plunketts/Eoghan Ruadh. He is a true gentleman and we all wish Bernard every success and good fortune in his new journey.”
You can watch his best moments below.