As the clock ticked over the regulation 70 minutes in Croke Park on Saturday night it looked like Ulster boys Tyrone were about do the unthinkable and end Dublin’s 30 game unbeaten run.
But as the minutes and seconds ticked away, Dublin found the resolve and strength to dig as deep as they ever have to pull the result back towards them.
Despite missing a penalty earlier in the half, Dean Rock stepped up and confidently converted a free to tie the game and make it 31 League and Championship games unbeaten for the Dubs.
It’s no secret that the Ballymun Forward spends a lot of time perfecting his craft. And 2016 was his best season yet. Rock was quite simply the most integral part of Dublin’s League and Championship run last year.
His 0-12 against Kerry in the All Ireland Semi Final alone was a performance worthy of All Star. And while the drawn final will be a game he may choose to forget, his perfect seven from seven attempts in the replay only went to prove that one bad day won’t spoil an otherwise perfect year.
“All the practice I do was reflected the other night [against Tyrone], in terms of kicking a kick like that over the bar.” Dean told Brain Carthy from RTÉ Sport.
“Obviously it’s a responsibility of mine for the team in order to score those frees.”
With the conditions on Saturday leaving a lot to be desired, it only goes to show the dedication and effort Rock puts into this great responsibility. His last free, in the wind and rain, was from 48 metres out and he made it look so easy.
“Before training I always get out 10 minutes beforehand, and after training I stay back 10, 15 minutes after to practice to kicks.”
“This time of year it’s just putting the minutes in before and after training and I suppose they all add up towards the end of the week”.
Once the All Ireland and Dublin Club Championship came to a close the Dublin team, the staff, friends and family made tracks to Jamaica for a well deserved break. And Dean took the opportunity to rest the legs and recharge the batteries before starting fresh for their League Campaign.
And despite being committed, he know breaks need to be taken from training.
“I don’t really take a bag of balls out on those days…maybe in the summer when the weather is a bit better and the evenings are longer you can get a bit more practice done.”
“I like just to relax and unwind”
Dean Rock was in Parnell Park to help Life Style Sports launch the new PUMA Evo Touch Pro football boot. To celebrate the launch players from the men’s and women’s teams came together to take part in a skills challenge, putting the new boot to the test. Life Style Sports are official retail partners to Dublin GAA and home of the Boot Room, Ireland’s number one destination for football boots, stocking 99pc of on pitch boots.