DEAN ROCK: I WANT TO NAIL DOWN STARTING SPOT FOR THE DUBS.
STRANGE but true. Dean Rock has never started a league game for Dublin.
He’s appeared in just two as a substitute, the 2013 league semi-final and final, in which he kicked the winner against Tyrone.
Otherwise, he’s been injured (thrice) or wrapped up with Ballymun Kickhams and their 2013 assault on the All-Ireland club title and thus hasn’t felt like a real life Dublin footballer until summer, at which time the queue for forward spots has turned into one of those scenes from Black Friday.
“I’ve always been injured at this time of year with my knee or my hamstring,” Rock told the Herald of his annual winter woes.
“So for me, I’m looking forward to playing games for Dublin.
“To getting in for the O’Byrne Cup and trying to get in for the National League and getting a good run. And playing football really. I love playing football.
“The league; Jim always says if you get in early and you do well, the jersey is yours to keep.
“And I’ve never got that opportunity.
“I’ve always been back for the summer and everyone says it’s great timing but for me personally, I just want to be out playing all the time, playing in league games down in Cork or Kerry or wherever. I just want to play.”
By the time Rock entered the fray against Donegal in this year’s All-Ireland semi-final, the advantage had tilted irretrievably in favour of Jimmy McGuinness’s men.
And good and all a forward as Rock is, bringing on such a classy attacker whilst every long opposition kickout is spawning a goal chance is akin to treating an epidemic with lemsip.
“It just ended disappointedly,” Rock says, summing up the year.
“Up until that it was great. Our football was great to watch.
“It was great to play a part of. So our philosophy won’t change very much.
“Just a few little small changes.
“But other than that, it’s just the same approach that we’ve had in the last two years and that has reaped its benefits with plenty of trophies.
“The game we play is, I suppose, an all-out attack. So it is high risk at times. But we always stick to our game-plan.
“And sometimes as a top team you’re going to lose games, you’re going to have disappointments.
“And that’s the sort of manager Jim is. He’ll take the blame on himself. But once the players go over the white line, we make the decisions ourselves.
“Unfortunately, Donegal got the goals at the wrong times.
“Obviously we have to learn from it and build on that going into 2015,” adds the Ballymun Kickhams man.
“One thing is, no one will ever forget it,” Rock adds.
“No one will forget the hurt in the dressing-room afterwards. But you know, you pick yourself up really quickly.
“We were lucky. We got back into playing club football almost straight away and now we’re here and 2015 is only around the corner and it’s nearly time to start again.
“So while it’s nearly forgotten, it is still in the back of your mind.
“But you won’t be using it as motivation or anything through the year.
“It’s a defeat that happened and we learn from it and hope that we won’t be in that situation again next year.”
3 Match tickets for the Dublin GAA Spring Series 2015 and all Dublin League fixtures are now on sale through the following link: www.dublingaa.ie/tickets
Price details – Three Match Package (Dublin v Donegal (F); Dublin v Cork (H); Dublin v Tyrone (F); Dublin v Derry (F): Adults: €30 – Stand & Terrace; Juveniles: €10 – Stand only; Single Game: Adults: €10 – Stand & Terrace; Juveniles: €5 – Stand only. (The Herald) Image Credit: INPHO