Dean Rock thought Lee Keegan’s GPS ‘was a piece of muck’
Dublin star oblivious to any Mayo player’s action as he concentrated on taking vital kick
Dean Rock: “As a kid you would have always imagined kicking a winning score in an All-Ireland final.” Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Dean Rock has spoken about not appreciating the significance of scoring the winning point in this year’s All-Ireland football final until after the referee had blown the full-time whistle.
The Dublin forward offered some insights into what was going through his mind as he put the ball between the posts in the 75th minute to secure Dublin’s third consecutive All Ireland victory.
“I didn’t want my mind to run away with me and think, ‘Jesus this is what I’ve always dreamed of,’” he explained at an AIG event yesterday. “Because as a kid you would have always imagined kicking a winning score in an All-Ireland final.”
But Rock is a self-professed “calm individual” – something which comes through in both his sporting life and in his day-to-day life working with people with intellectual disabilities.
“People would always refer to me as being calm, cool and collected. Not just from a free-taking or sporting point of views. Just in a way of life.”
So instead of getting overwhelmed by the what ifs, he simply focused on executing the task at hand and avoided any self-congratulatory pats on the back until the match was done and dusted.
“I had no time to sit back and reflect and think, ‘Jesus, I’m a great lad for putting that ball over the bar’.
“If I did start to think of the significance of the kick in the All-Ireland final and what would happen if I did get it or what would happen if I didn’t miss it, chances are I probably would have missed it,” he said.
“For me, it was about trying to concentrate on what I could affect, and then the rest would look after itself.”
Rock was also asked about an incident in which Lee Keegan tossed a GPS tracker in Rock’s direction as he prepared to take that last-gasp free. A few weeks on, he maintains that he was “oblivious” to what was going on and that he “genuinely thought it was a piece of muck”.
He dismissed the controversy as “irrelevant” and described such incidents as par for the course.
“You’d always notice lads distracting you, putting you off or calling you different things. That’s just part and parcel of it especially in Gaelic football,” he said. “You hear from spectators, you hear from players on the pitch. That’s just the norm.”