Delighted to survive such a tough test
-BERNARD BROGAN'S EXCLUSIVE BLOG-
WE’RE delighted to be back in the Leinster final. Despite what people think about the back door being a help to us last year, being in the Leinster final and winning the Delaney Cup is always a big goal for us at the start of the year and to be through to the final is great after such a hard battle with Kildare. Kildare were the massive test that we always knew they were going to be. Kieran McGeeney has done great work with them. They are fit, strong as oxes and they really made us work hard for everything and especially when we were down to 14 men. It was a scorching hot day and you were just trying to take on fluids any chance you got because of the intense heat. I felt we controlled the game quite well and although they got a late goal to come back and threaten us, I felt we deserved to win. I also feel that I was fouled for the late free that gave us the winning point. Pat Gilroy was pretty clear about what his view of the incident was afterwards and I agree with him.
On a number of occasions before that, I felt I was being fouled and there was one incident just before where I was being fouled and the referee decided to play an advantage and I was falling over taking a shot and got no advantage- so I felt I was due a free. I was just running for a ball and the defender got too close to me and my feet and his got caught up and tangled and I couldn’t run freely and my way was being impeded.
We were one on one going for a ball and my way was impeded and that’s a free in my book. Fair play to the referee as he showed courage to make the call. There’s been a lot of talk about it because of the time of the game where it happened – but if it had happened 10 minutes earlier it would still be a free and there would have been nothing made of it. I was held back and was fouled four times for scoreable frees on the day. That’s it over with and it’s not something I’m going to dwell on. As footballer of the year I’m getting more attention off defenders and I have to accept that. The Kildare defence did well and I didn’t get many opportunities on the ball. I didn’t personally shoot the lights out, but I know it’s not about individuals in this Dublin team, but rather about hard work instead. I was happy that I won frees and made assists and put Paul Flynn through for his goal – but I know there is a big improvement needed for the next day.
Pat will be happy that we cleared a difficult hurdle, but he expects us to improve for the Leinster final with Wexford on Sunday week. Kildare aren’t finished with this Championship yet either. They came back into the game very well but, for once, we seemed to get the bit of luck that you often need in tight games and we haven’t always got in the past. We created a lot of goal chances but only took one of them and this is just one of the many areas that we’ll look to improve upon, especially because of the goal threat posed by Wexford. Wexford are lying in wait and they will be seriously motivated to win their first Leinster title since 1945 and we will have to be ready to match their desire and work rate.
• Hopefully, the Dublin hurlers will continue their impressive season in the Leinster final this Sunday. It’s a tough challenge because of the quality players Dublin are missing and because Kilkenny are coming with a point to prove after the league final. But I think there are a lot of talented young hurlers in Dublin who will be eager to get a chance to play on this big stage. Dublin were able to stand up to Kilkenny in the league final and they will need to do something similar again. They will need to produce a big performance, but if they do then you never know what they are capable of and I will be there to cheer them on this Sunday at Croke Park.
• The meeting of Kerry and Cork is always a massive clash and this Sunday’s meeting in Killarney is no different. It will be a huge battle, but Kerry are at home and under pressure after Cork won the All-Ireland and I think they’ll be looking to set down a marker for later in the summer and tip Kerry to win.
THE VODAFONE DUB HUB JOURNALIST
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