It’s a fair assessment that Ballymun Kickhams’ Dean Rock is staking his claim as a scoring specialist in the current Dublin set up. The 26 year old is enjoying a real purple patch in his role and as each game comes and goes, the tally of scores is on a steady incline.
1-30 through the round stages of this year’s Allianz League campaign and tagged on another 0-10 in the Semi Final and Final.
In the Leinster Quarter and Semi Finals he’s already added 1-10 against Laois and 0-10 against Meath.
There’s definitely no signs of Dean stopping anytime soon and with the majority of these scores coming from frees, this weekend he’ll surely want to better the 0-02 he scored against Westmeath this time twelve months ago.
“I pride myself on my free taking”, Dean told the42.ie, “it’s a huge responsibility.
Oddly enough, it wasn’t a GAA great who caught his eye growing up, with maybe the exception of his Dad, Barney. England Rugby kicker Jonny Wilkinson’s career was one Rock followed closely as a boy.
“When I was younger, he would have been one of my sporting idols.”
“I would have played a lot of rugby growing up, would have been a goal-kicker as well, so I’d have based a lot of my training on him.”
The fruits of this obsession are indeed blossoming in 2016, with Rock knocking ball upon ball over the bar, delighting the Dublin faithful. But it’s a combination of his natural ability and a tonne of hard work that’s brought him up to the level he’s at right now. Dean has a very strict regime he religiously keeps to, and one that is proving successful.
He spends a huge amount of time before and after Dublin training sessions honing his skills, and on top of that would be known to practice on his own a couple of times a week. This is helping alleviate the external factors that free takers come across.
“The main thing for me is to just get my heart rate down. It’s just breathing and taking my time, and that’s pretty much my only approach to it” he explained
“Every team that I played on when I was younger, I was the free-taker. So it came from there and then a lot of practice over the last few years.”
The Ballymun clubman has thankfully been injury free now for a couple of years, and as a result can relish regular training, which ultimately leads to more game time. All of this quite evident lately and long may it continue.
“I’m just really enjoying my football now, I’m 26 and having the time of my life playing with a great group who are best friends, a real driven group.