Dean Rock’s calm focus allowed him to kick All-Ireland final winner
Dublin forward says he didn’t even notice attempt by Lee Keegan to put him off
Dublin’s Dean Rock scores the winning point in the 2017 All-Ireland football final against Mayo. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Dublin footballer Dean Rock: “I learnt a lot from that league final miss and when it moved on to the All-Ireland final, yeah, it probably was down to sheer focus and commitment to the process.” Photography by James Crombie/Inpho
Dean Rock has admitted he worked so hard on his free-taking routine after last year’s league final that shooting the winner in the All-Ireland final felt like no big deal.
The experienced Dublin forward slotted the winner against Mayo under the most extreme pressure and didn’t even notice defender Lee Keegan tossing a GPS unit his way.
He put that down to being so immersed in his routine, something he worked hard on after failing to convert a late equaliser against Kerry in last year’s league decider.
Asked if not even noticing Keegan was the ultimate endorsement of his routine, Rock nodded.
“I suppose it was, just that focus,” said Rock. “I learnt a lot from that league final miss and when it moved on to the All-Ireland final, yeah, it probably was down to sheer focus and commitment to the process and routine that you are not going to be affected by it.”
Rock revealed why he failed to convert the kick against Kerry yet held firm on the bigger stage in September.
“It was probably just about focusing on the outcome too much,” he said. “That [league final] kick, I would have known that it was a kick to get a draw so I would have said that to myself, put myself under unnecessary stress, whereas fast forward to the All-Ireland final, I was completely drilled in terms of my process and my routine and I didn’t once think of whether this kick would go over the bar or not go over the bar.
“I was just completely blank. I just went through my process as if I was down in DCU, practicing frees. It went over and it was just straight on then to the kick-out.”