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Sibling rivalry in All-Ireland final

By John Campbell

Stand by for a ferocious battle of the brothers when Dublin and Kerry collide in Sunday’s All-Ireland football final.

Bernard and Alan Brogan will shoulder a huge burden of responsibility for totting up scores for Pat Gilroy’s side while Marc and Tomas Ó Sé will be striving to ensure that they fire blanks instead.

The confrontation between two of the most experienced forwards in the game and a pair of the most celebrated defenders will form a fascinating sub-plot to what should be a compelling Croke Park narrative.

Perhaps the Brogan boys — their father Jim played on the great Dublin team of the 70’s — have not been quite as potent of late as they can be but this has merely served to fuel their fire for Sunday’s showdown.

And with Tomas Ó Sé, currently playing some of the best football of his career at the age of 32, having already declared that Kerry “badly want to win this final for our skipper Colm Cooper” the battle lines have been drawn.

While Ulster sides have tended to be a nemesis of sorts for both Kerry and Dublin, the metropolitan team’s wins over Tyrone and Donegal this year and their quarter-final victory over Armagh last year will, according to Alan Brogan, send them into Sunday’s set-to unimpeded by any sort of psychological baggage.

“Obviously after our win over Tyrone, the game against Donegal was a much more difficult mission for us,” says the versatile forward.

“They were very hard to break down but the fact that we won in the end has given us great heart for this meeting with Kerry.

“Donegal were difficult to play against but they had a system that worked for them and you could not blame them for sticking with it.”

But he is conscious that Kerry, who beat Limerick and Mayo at the quarter-final and semi-finals stages respectively, can come up with a really big performance on the grandest of occasions.

“It does not matter how Kerry have been playing, when it comes to the All-Ireland final you know they are always capable of pulling something out of the top drawer,” insists the older of the talented Brogan duo.

His sentiments will strike a chord with followers everywhere and just how tough Dublin’s task has become is underlined by the defiant message hurled in their direction by Tomas Ó Sé.

“We want to win this final badly for ‘Gooch’ Cooper,” points out the veteran Kingdom defender.

“A number of us have All-Ireland medals in our back pockets because of him — his scoring exploits have been phenomenal in the Kerry jersey. Now we see this is a chance to return the favour and give him the right to go up those steps in Croke Park and lift the Sam Maguire Cup.”

Ó Sé, a tenacious defender as well as a dynamic attacking force, acknowledges that he and brother Marc, who will line out at full-back, will have their work cut out to restrict the Dublin attack in general and the Brogans in particular.

“There is a lot of quality in this Dublin attack so we know what to expect,” states Ó Sé.

And reverting to the Cooper theme to which he is clearly resolutely committed, he is convinced that what he describes as his skipper’s “totally unselfish” approach will help underpin the team’s overall strategy.

“The ‘Gooch’ is very much a team player even though he is a genius out there,” insists Ó Sé, not someone who is known for extravagant utterances.

“He will always give the ball to a colleague who he thinks is better-placed.

“He will play for the team at all times — the team ethic is very important to him.

“He certainly does not go looking for glory — he earns it naturally because of his awesome skills.”

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