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Dublin footballer Bernard Brogan tells us about the magic of playing in Croke Park

‘I felt the stadium shake when Kevin McManamon scored the goal against Kerry in 2011. It was an amazing moment!’

If there is someone who knows exactly what it is like to play in Croke Park, it is Bernard Brogan.

The Dublin full forward has 6 All Ireland medals and 4 All-Stars to his name. He has tasted success numerous times in the blue jersey. Though he admits that at times he still can get nervous.

The final installment of the GAA Go Games Provincial Days will take place this weekend, which gives thousands of children from clubs all around the country a chance to play in the iconic Croke Park. We chatted to Bernard, to find out all about his memories in Croke Park, including his earliest and his favourite ones!

What are your earliest memories of Croke Park?

Being lifted over the turnstiles by my Dad on way into Dublin games.

When was the first time you played in Croke Park?

I played in a Cumann na mBunscol Final for my primary school, Scoil Thomas, when I was in  4th class. I played wingback. We were beaten but that didn’t take away from the buzz of the day, one I will never forget.

What was it like for you personally the first time you played there?

Amazing! I had grown up listening to stories of my dad playing in Croke Park with the amazing Dublin team he was on, so to play in Croke Park was an even bigger event for me.

Do you feel that playing in Croke Park is different to other stadiums?

The sheer scale of the stadium is the real magic of it.

When you have a full house in Croke Park, there is nowhere better in the world.  The walk around the stadium behind the band on All Ireland Final day is amazing.

The noise is deafening as you walk past the different supporters.

Would it make you more nervous?

I love the big games in Croke Park, I do get nervous but nerves are good. It means it matters to you!

What is your favourite memory in Croke Park?

I felt the stadium shake when Kevin McManamon scored the goal against Kerry in 2011. It was an amazing moment!

What is your least favourite memory in Croke Park?

I missed a one on one on the Hill in the Semi-Final against Mayo in 2012. That took me a long time to get over.

Who has been your toughest opponent while playing in Croke Park?

I have always enjoyed the battles with Marc Ó Sé from Kerry, one of the greatest defenders of all time. I never had an easy day when Marc was marking me.

Can you describe what it’s like to play in Croke Park on All Ireland Final day?

The colours, the energy, the buzz.

It is one of the best sporting occasions on the planet. To be on the turf on that day is truly special. It makes you understand the passion and scale of the GAA. It is actually indescribable!

This weekend, Littlewoods Ireland will give thousands of children the opportunity to play in Croke Park for the first time as part of the GAA Go Games Provincial Days.

Ellen McConville

Typically found on the sidelines or in Croke Park, Ellen is the Sports Content Editor for Littlewoods Ireland and your go-to gal for all things GAA. A big lover of all things Christy Moore, fashion and some wine and cheese as well.

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