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Dublin: 4°C Thursday 26 November 2020
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Switched off: Jonny Cooper on social media blackout as semi-final hype builds

Dublin defender looking forward to pitting himself against “the team to beat” on Sunday.

Cooper: no Twitter for 10 days before the big match.
Cooper: no Twitter for 10 days before the big match.
Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

JONNY COOPER HOPES that his strict social media diet will shield him from the semi-final frenzy sweeping the capital.

Croke Park is set for its first sell-out of the summer when old rivals Dublin and Kerry meet on Sunday in a repeat of the 2011 football final.

As the scramble for last-minute tickets continues and talk turns to the famous past meetings between the counties, Cooper is doing his best to avoid it all.

“I just try to stay away from everything,” he said. “Stay with the family, the people that I know, and try to keep them around me as much as possible. People do generally want to talk about matches.”

The Na Fianna defender has been an ever-present this summer as Jim Gavin’s new-look Dubs won four out of four in the Championship, clinching their eighth Leinster title in nine seasons and a fourth consecutive place in the semi-finals.

It has been a quick bedding-in period for the man who only made his first Championship start in the Leinster opener against Westmeath back in June.

He’s not getting stopped on the street just yet but that’s a blessing in disguise this week as his low profile keeps him out of the limelight.

“A lot of people don’t know me. I’m in DCU and people are only figuring out I’m on the team. I try to stay away from social media and that stuff the week of a game.

“I have Twitter and that sort of stuff shut down for 10 days before, try to stay out of it as much as possible.”

There’s no hard and fast rule from Gavin and his backroom team banning players from using social media in the lead-up to a game, but in a world where few tweets go unnoticed for long, players have learned how to look after themselves.

It’s just about managing it really. Guys have to be aware that they have maybe a bit more influence or pull in terms of what can snowball and what can run a story. Guys are aware of what’s going on.

I switch it off a good 10 days [before]; some guys stay out three or four days; and some guys are right up until the match day or the day before. Whatever you’re comfortable with and whatever rocks your boat.

Sunday might be his first experience of an All-Ireland semi-final but the opposition and their threat need no introduction.

“They’re always at the top table,” Cooper said of Kerry.

“The O’Ses, Fitzgeralds, Gooch, they’re always at the top table winning All Irelands, All-Stars or being role models in general. They’re the team to beat.

“You always want to challenge yourself against the best there is. Whatever form Kerry have shown, they’re always going to be there come the crunch. [This] is the crunch.”

He adds: “There’s always expectation on a Dublin player. There’s no safety net any more. With the league you can try different things, different areas. It’s do or die now.

“There’s more pressure on all our shoulders but that’s something we welcome.”

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Niall Kelly

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