DEAN ROCK is confident that Dublin can continue to compete for the All-Irelands until they move into this transition period, warning that it is “going a long way” until big prizes are handed out.
Dublin forward Dean Rock is chasing the ball against Kerry.
Source: Ben Brady / INPHO
Missing a few regulars, they endured a shaky start to the season after losing in the first games of the 1st Division Arme and Kerry.
14 new players have been added to Desi Farrell’s panel this year, in addition to a number in the previous campaign.
While in the past the youngsters spent a season or two growing up on the team before being thrown into the competition, in recent years the flow of retirements has forced Farrell to quickly hide his new players.
It will take time before the young guns get used to the senior inter-district football, according to the Sky Blues shooter.
However, Rock suggests that Dublin’s final focus remains on Sam Maguire’s return in July.
“As Dublin footballers, we look forward to winning and are very competitive,” he told the AIG Dublin GAA event. “Nothing will change, even if we are now in this transitional phase.
“We certainly know where we want to get as a group and what we want to achieve. Everyone knows (our goal for the year) is where we want to get. Already in February, still a long way in the National League, still a long way to the championship.
“This year there has been a large influx of new players in the panel, 14 new players, so we are trying to integrate them into the team and even just get to know them. From my point of view, you were so comfortable with the guys who were there (before).
“Obviously, in recent years there have been so many guys, your best friends and guys with whom you could easily communicate. So this is a completely different attempt to meet new guys. There’s a transition, absolutely, but we certainly still want to be very, very competitive in this year’s championship and in the rest of the league.
“Obviously, there is a certain element of transition, and that doesn’t mean we’re coming out of anticipation of playing games. We are still coming out, hoping for a victory and a performance.
“But we understand exactly where we are at the moment. Perhaps the bigger picture is to expose these new guys during game time and give them that kind of exposure, because without them they won’t become better as players. It is very important for them. “
Lee Gennan broke into Desi Farrell’s starting team.
Source: Evan Treacy / INPHO
Asked whether the quality of the players is comparable to previous years, Rock said the team’s newcomers have “great talent”.
“The great thing is that these guys need to be given time. When I started, either James McCarthy or Cohn O’Callaghan, it took us a while to acclimatize to inter-league football and to the demands of day-to-day training.
“Even from a tactical point of view, getting used to the game plans. Probably not so deep at the club level or at the U20 level. So these guys need to learn and do a lot. Every week they get better, and there are certainly a lot of talented players.
“I’ve seen it over the last few weeks, but they probably just need a little more time, and hopefully we’ll see the best for them in the next few weeks in the league and obviously also in the summer.”
After the era of domination the general consensus is that Dublin is back in pursuit. The oil in this fire was added by their all-Irish semi-final defeat by Mayo combined with a bad start to 2022.
“I think there’s always a lot of noise around the Dublin team, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent,” he said. I think it’s just territory to be a Dublin footballer. We know exactly where we want to get and how we want to get there.
“With this small share of adversity there is a huge opportunity to help you grow as a team. It makes you work a little harder. Naturally, we knew that our run would not last forever.
“We were going to lose some day. We fully embraced this last year. Even in the league we know exactly where we are in terms of what we are trying to achieve. We strive to achieve good performances, to date we have no results.
“But in terms of feeling pressured or doubting after a couple of defeats, this group has too much experience to go down that path or feel that way.”
Rock spoke when Dublin GAA and AIG Insurance held the official launch of the 2022 season.
Source: David Fitzgerald / SPORTSFILE
The 31-year-old Ballymun Kickhams striker believes Dublin’s failure in the second quarter of the game cost them the first two games.
“Probably it wasn’t as bad as the two defeats looked. Obviously, we will analyze and evaluate games. Take that apart and we just spent two bad second quarters in both of those games.
“Probably it was a great training for us. The second half of these games we played a little better and won both. In particular, it was the second quarter that let us down, both against the Army and against Kerry.
“So it’s just something we should try to address. Now looking forward to Mayo this weekend and hoping to fix a few bugs.
“We are working in the background to try to unite the four good quarters. We haven’t done that yet. We did it in packs. “
McCarthy, O’Callaghan, Mick Fitzsimans, Johnny Cooper, Paddy Small, Aaron Byrne, Cormac Castello, Eoine Murchan and Robbie McDade played with Carrie, and Rock hopes some of them will return for Saturday’s meeting with Mayo.
He says revenge will not be in the minds of Dublin players after James Horan’s team ended its long tenure as champions last August.
“Hopefully this week we will have pure health before a great game against Mayo, and from now on we can start our season.
“It’s never been part of Dublin’s mentality in terms of this revenge, it’s just another game for us. Another opportunity to try to perform a little better and try on what we are working on in training.
“Obviously last year we deservedly lost that Mayo semifinal, they were the best team that day. But in terms of extra motivation just because we lost last year, we won’t go that route. ”
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