rock of sense

From the joy of county glory with Dublin to the agony of club setbacks with Ballymun

Dean Rock is aware of the contrast between county and club fortunes.

DEAN ROCK STARTED out on the club championship trail last Saturday and his spirits were soaring by the final whistle.

He posted 1-10 on the board, set up a second-half goal for substitute Conor Kavanagh and was integral to Ballymun Kickhams winning their opening group game as they took on St Brigid’s.

The club scene has not always sparked the happiest of experiences for Rock.

Being part of the all-conquering Dublin team has delivered plenty trophies Rock’s way over the last few years and he has collected All-Star awards for the past two seasons as recognition for his individual exploits.

But with Ballymun Kickhams they have hit roadblocks since their 2012 triumph in Dublin with St Vincent’s largely administering the pain courtesy of the 2013 final replay, 2016 semi-final and 2017 final.

Rock is conscious of that contrast.

“That’s it. It can be quite a large transition from the county set-up back to the club set-up sometimes. I suppose as players each year we’re learning how to be a little bit better when we come back to the club, or adapt a little bit easier and transition more smoothly back into the club scene.

Dean Rock signs autographs for fans Dean Rock signing autographs for fans after last year's Dublin county semi-final. Bryan Keane / INPHO Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

“It’s six years since we won our last one so hopefully we can add one this year, please God. I suppose, what we haven’t had in the last number of years is lots of young guys coming through who are ready to play senior football now.

“We’ll only really know when the county season is over where we’re at when it comes to the quarter-final stage, where this Ballymun team is at. Hopefully we’re in a position to compete again and go a little bit closer.

“Because it is quite disappointing that we’ve only managed to win one championship in that period of time with the amount of quality players that we have.”

Rock swept over 0-7 as Dublin lifted silverware earlier this month at the close of another successful league campaign. The spring provided further proof of Rock’s rising stock in the game and he pinpoints his 2012-13 club journey with Ballymun as pivotal to transforming his fortunes.

“I would have been dropped from the Dublin panel in 2012 and then it was obviously make or break time for me in terms of whether I wanted to really pursue a career here or did I want to hang out with my mates more and socialise a bit more.

“I knuckled down under Paul Curran who was manager at the time and just kind of transformed my own game and worked on as much as I could work, what I needed to work on, and built up my own strengths as well.

“And, yeah (I) just kind of carried that form through by playing so many games with the club at a national level as well.

“Jim (Gavin) called me in in 2013 once the club championship was over and, yeah, I haven’t looked back since really.”

AIG Insurance GUI & ILGU Cups & Shields Launch Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

The concept of taking a step back from the county demands at this time of year is not new to Rock and his Dublin colleagues.

There is a slight difference in that he is immersing himself in Ballymun matters a few weeks earlier than normal but the hiatus from Dublin is something he relishes.

“I can only speak from my own perspective and our team’s perspective, that it’s been hugely healthy for us. Just even from a mental perspective it’s good to have that change of gear for training.

“Once the national league is finished guys love going back to the club for four to five weeks because it just freshens your whole year up. Then we come back to the Dublin set-up the first week in May feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and then you can really get stuck into the championship prep.”

Dean Rock celebrates with nephew Eli D'Arcy after the game Dean Rock celebrates with nephew Eli Darcy after the league final victory over Galway. Oisin Keniry / INPHO Oisin Keniry / INPHO / INPHO

Dean Rock was in Carton House today to help mark the commencement of the 2018 AIG Cups & Shields season and to celebrate AIG’s 20th anniversary as a partner to the GUI and ILGU.

AIG revealed details of their ‘AIG Golfer Anniversary Sale,’ where they are offering up to 20% off car insurance and up to 50% on home Insurance.* For more details see

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