Alan Brogan was a once in a generation type of footballer whose career spanned two generations that are seemingly polar opposite.
While the ‘noughties’ mirrored Gaelic football’s traditional method of kick and chase, the 2010s era ushered in a more controlled possession-based game that turned many spectators off.
The Dublin legend’s career crossed over both decades and while he rode off into the sunset with an All-Ireland clinching score in 2015, it’s important to remember the triple All-Ireland experienced the lowest of lows coming onto the scene during the county’s leanest ever spell.
However, whether they were being pushed all the way in Leinster or winning All-Irelands at a canter, from the minute he introduced himself to the nation, Brogan was Dublin’s marquee forward.
Earlier this week, Brogan sat down alongside Joe Brolly for an in-depth chat with eir Sport about Dublin’s famous drawn All-Ireland quarter-final with Tyrone in 2005 and surprised many people by claiming that he enjoyed playing football more during Dublin’s lean period than when they were winning All-Irelands.
“Certainly, as an attacker like myself, you got more space, more opportunity to take guys on one on one. Even though we didn’t win, I probably enjoyed playing football more at that time because of the way the game was played.”
Brogan continued by outlining the one player from that era who he continually benchmarked himself against citing that, until he got the better of him, he was never really assured of himself as a footballer.
“I was obviously playing against those Tyrone teams, we mentioned Conor Gormley earlier on. Like, he was the guy, he came on me in 2005. So, he was the guy nearly from 2005 through to 2011/2012 that I kind of benchmarked myself off because he was going to be marking me.
Footage of Alan Brogan scoring a point in that famous 2011 game against Tyrone, arguably the most complete team performance of the entire decade. In the words of Marty Morrissey, "Dublin can do wrong. It is an exhibition par excellence in an All Ireland Quarter Final." #COYBIB pic.twitter.com/bdHCrkJnmZ
— Jack the Hack (@JacktheHack19) July 29, 2019
“And I was never intent with my own game until I got the better of him in a game, to be honest with you, and it wasn’t until the quarter-final in 2011. He’d done a number on me a couple of times before that and I got the better of him that day and it wasn’t until that day that I was really, really assured of myself as a footballer.
“He was the one guy that managed to snuff me out two or three times before that. Didn’t always start on me but after 2005, most times we played Tyrone, he was the guy who picked me up no matter where I was playing.”
When prompted by fellow panellist Joe Brolly about how tough the Carrickmore man was as a footballer, Brogan paid tribute to Gormley citing that despite Tyrone’s reputation for being somewhat of a vocal team, he never said a word to him.
“For all the talk about Tyrone and sledging and stuff, Conor Gormley never said a single word to me but you’d know he was there.”
"Conor Gormley was the guy I benchmarked myself on. I was never content in my own game until I got the better of him. It wasn't until the QF in 2011 where I probably got the better of him"@alanbrogan13 gives us an insight into his thoughts coming up against Tyrone. #GAAGold pic.twitter.com/MXb3dWfiUx
— eir Sport (@eirSport) May 6, 2020