Bernard Brogan had a swansong to remember with Dublin in 2019, winning a seventh All-Ireland medal with the county as part of the team that sealed an historic five-in-a-row.
The Plunkett's forward didn't manage to get much game time during the victorious 2019 season, making only one championship appearance during the Super 8s series against Tyrone.
Brogan would not see game time during either game of the replayed final against Kerry, which Dublin ultimately won by six points. Nonetheless, he picked up a medal as an important member of Jim Gavin's camp, before retiring ahead of the 2020 season.
Speaking to Newstalk this week, Brogan revealed that the entire Dublin squad made a journey to Lambay Island in the days before the 2019 final, with Gavin stressing the importance of the team taking in the surroundings and getting to know each other on a deeper level. Brogan said that the trip served its purpose, and that it spoke to Gavin's brilliant capabilities with man management.
Bernard Brogan reveals Dublin squad made powerful Lambay trip in 2019
Bernard Brogan was an established part of the Dublin setup when Jim Gavin arrived as manager ahead of the 2013 season and, speaking to Bobby Kerr's 'Life and Leadership' podcast on Newstalk this week, Brogan said that the squad took to their new manager instantly:
When he came in in 2013, there were some senior players had been around the block and won an All-Ireland and he was expecting - as happened in his time - 1995, '96, a bit of a rally against management.
He experienced that the team just really bought into it. We had open arms. We were soaking it up. We wanted to be better because we wanted success
Gavin would go on to oversee a period of unprecedented success for Dublin, managing the county to six senior All-Ireland titles, including a first ever five-in-a-row between 2015 and 2019.
Brogan was on the fringes of the squad by the time that 2019 season rolled around, but shared a special memory from the buildup to that year's final.
He revealed that the club made a journey to Lambay Island for a teambuilding trip in the days leading up to the decider against Kerry. Brogan said that the trip helped the Dublin squad to strengthen the bond between players, and said that Gavin's idea to bring the squad to a "fantastic" place cemented their winning mentality:
The last piece of the work we did with Dublin, Jim brought us to Lambay island. We didn’t kick a football.
A fantastic place. All we did was three sessions around connection, getting to know each other better. Some old guys. Some new guys.
People talking about challenges. They had lost relatives. People who didn’t have parents, who struggled with different challenges, and all it was to do was just to create that bond.
And why do you do that? You invest in culture. For us in sport it’s about the last five minutes that I will go through the wall for you. You are after slipping. I am going to make up to your man. I am going to get a block or I am going to get that ball to you - if you are a striker - to take that shot for us to win.
Lambay, off the coast of north County Dublin, is no easy spot to get to. Trips to the island are only facilitated during the summer - at a not-so-insignificant cost - and are often in high demand.
Evidently, only the best would do for Jim Gavin's men, and it would pay off in the weeks after the trip, with a famous victory over Kerry sealing the 2019 Dublin team's place in the GAA history books.