Tributes flooded in from across the GAA world and beyond, after Bernard Brogan called time on his inter-county career with the Dublin senior footballers.
“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.”
Indeed, Brogan was on a different journey of his own when he posted the statement. The Legacy Communications owner had travelled alone to London for a work-trip when the statement was uploaded to Twitter.
It was through another app, ‘WhatsApp’, that he found the toughest part of announcing his retirement. Typed words proved tough, so instead he opted for a video message posted to the players WhatsApp group, as a final ‘thank-you’ and ‘good-bye’, before exiting.
Two days earlier, at the Westin Hotel on Westmoreland St, Brogan met with Jim Gavin to have a chat about the future.
Everything from aviation and Brexit, to Bernard’s twin boys was discussed and his businesses, before Bernard announced he was “handing in the gun and badge”.
In his statement, Bernard mentioned the “lifelong friendships – forged on what we call our battlefield”, and stated how he will “cherish all these memories”.
He was keen to pay tribute to his Mam and Dad; his brothers Alan and Paul, along with managers Paul Caffrey, Pat Gilroy and Jim Gavin; and along the many members of the backroom teams he has worked alongside.
His cousin James, work-colleagues; the GAA community in general, especially Dublin County Board and St. Oliver Plunkett’s; and the Dublin supporters and Hill 16, whom he thanked for “the unwavering support” during his time in blue.
He said of the Dublin supporters: “I have always claimed that you are the greatest fans in the world and you were my last wave walking out of Croke Park.”
Brogan also thanked Paul Flynn and GPA, while paying special tribute to his wife Keira.
“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 boys 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.”
And 35-year old Brogan showed on Saturday that he still has plenty in the tank.
He helped ensure St Oliver Plunkett’s/Eoghan Ruadh avoided relegation from Senior 1 Championship, with a vital 1-5 in their 1-13 to 2-8 win over St Sylvesters in Drumnigh.
Bernard exits the inter-county stage with Seven All-Ireland Senior titles; five League crowns; a Footballer of the Year accolade; 4 All-Stars and 13 Leinster SFC titles.
Thanks for the memories Bernard.