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'I watched 2011 final from the Hogan Stand. In reality, I wasn't good enough'

Dublin defender Jonny Cooper keeping his mind off the All-Ireland final — by working on his Masters thesis.

Cooper: an ever-present in the Dublin full-back line this summer.
Cooper: an ever-present in the Dublin full-back line this summer.
Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

JONNY COOPER IS determined to taste All-Ireland glory for himself and make up for the pain of missing out in 2011.

The Na Fianna clubman was on his own in the Hogan Stand when Stephen Cluxton slotted the free to down Kerry and bring Sam Maguire back to the capital.

Later that night as all of Dublin hit the town to celebrate a first All-Ireland in 16 years, Cooper was at home on the couch watching the Sunday Game with his mother.

“I didn’t feel aggrieved,” he says, looking back. “In reality, I wasn’t good enough. That’s fair enough.

Looking out at the guys, I would have known a handful of them. Obviously I was overjoyed for them. It would have been a motivating factor for me from then on.

Given his chance by Jim Gavin, Cooper has taken full advantage and has been an ever-present in the full-back line since his first Championship start against Westmeath earlier this summer.

But while all of Dublin is preoccupied with the football honour roll, it’s academic books rather than history books that are taking Cooper’s mind off Sunday’s big game.

Later this month his 15,000-word thesis for a Masters in exercise physiology is due into DCU.

“I go in different doors and down different corridors,” he jokes about going back to college with an All-Ireland final on the horizon.

“I have to try and get a job at the end of this so that’s the bigger picture. Obviously the football final is massive as well but that definitely keeps me tied up, trying to write a thesis.

It’s a good thing to bounce away from the football side of things, going and burying your head in a load of books and journals.

“I’m about 70/80 per cent of the way there with it now. It’s just about tying up the loose ends and putting a bit more polish on the bits that have to look good.”

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Niall Kelly

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