Cooper: I've two weeks to show Jim that I deserve that Dublin jersey

Jonny Cooper is already counting down the days until he can return to training.

Cooper needs to find a way to dislodge Mick Fitzsimons and reclaim his corner-back spot.
Cooper needs to find a way to dislodge Mick Fitzsimons and reclaim his corner-back spot.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

ON THE FACE of it, the injury that ruled Jonny Cooper out of the Leinster football final doesn’t sound too serious.

A soft tissue quad pull, the kind of problem that wouldn’t keep you out for more than a fortnight.

Barring any setbacks the Na Fianna man should be lacing up his boots and back in training this weekend, well in advance of Dublin’s All-Ireland quarter-final on 9 August.

But getting injured is a particularly dangerous game in a panel as strong as Jim Gavin’s.

While Cooper watched on, Michael Fitzsimons slotted in at corner-back and helped the Dubs wallop Meath by 16 points.

“That’s the way it works,” Cooper admits. ”The reality is he has the jersey now and deservedly so.

“It’s up to me and the other full-back line contenders to try and get one.”

It’s a ruthless business when you consider that such a minor problem could effectively see Cooper locked out of the starting XV for the rest of Dublin’s Championship run, however long that lasts.

“It is,” he agrees, “and it’s not enjoyable to watch sometimes from outside when you are not able to play a part.

“But it’s all about the collective and once they are winning it doesn’t really matter.”

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It’s not all doom and gloom though. If he gets the green light from Dublin’s medical team, Cooper will be back in training this weekend.

That gives him two full weeks to prove to Gavin that, regardless of how the others are performing, he must start that quarter-final.

“Everything is picked on merit. If Jim sees someone pushing, you’ll get your chance then. It’s up to the person in question to prove it to him.”

Consider the gauntlet well and truly thrown down.

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Niall Kelly

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