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Dublin: 11 °C Monday 25 March, 2019
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'We've soldiered together': Dublin's Jonny Cooper on that picture with Rob Hennelly

Cooper was quick to console Mayo keeper Rob Hennelly after Sunday’s All-Ireland football final.

AS THE CELEBRATIONS raged around him, Jonny Cooper had the presence of mind to check in on an old friend.

For the Dublin defender an All-Ireland medal was a fitting end to his first full Championship season and the perfect tonic after watching the capital’s 2011 win from the stands.

For goalkeeper Rob Hennelly and all of Mayo, Sunday’s one-point defeat was another room to add to the county’s house of pain.

Cooper and Hennelly were team-mates on the DCU side which won the Sigerson Cup in 2012 and, amid the agony and ecstasy, they shared a touching moment of sportsmanship.

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INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

“Team mates are team mates and I’d be very good friends with Rob from DCU,” Cooper explained. “I suppose we’ve soldiered together for a number of years in DCU.

“It is what it is when you go over the white line. That’s the way it goes. One of us was going to be victorious and one of us wasn’t.

I would have a very good relationship with Rob. It was tough to see a DCU team mate in that state. It is what it is but that’s the reason why I went over to him.

Cooper finished Sunday’s final on the sidelines, substituted in the second half after an accidental clash of heads with Mayo captain Andy Moran left him concussed and visibly dazed.

Manager Jim Gavin and the Dublin medical team quickly knew that Cooper was in no way fit to continue, an assessment backed up when the Na Fianna man vomited in the dugout minutes later.

“I definitely can remember the game,” Cooper said. “I think I was sitting on the bench with Alan Brogan and Paddy Andrews and just kind of asked them to keep me up to date with the goings on in the match.

After a couple of minutes I was fine. It was just the initial blow was a bit tough. But I was fine after.

“I suppose All-Irelands are there to be won,” he added. “We had to try and dive on every ball and if we could do that, we’d be in with a chance of being victorious. That’s what it was going to take.”

If Sunday was tough, Cooper knows that retaining Dublin’s All-Ireland crown in 2014 will be every bit as difficult.

“You can see with Donegal this year and ourselves last year, it definitely was difficult.

“We’ll enjoy this moment as it is and when Jim gets back down to earth in a couple of weeks, I have no doubt we’ll get focused again.

I’ve no doubt with Jim and his management team and everyone involved, there won’t be any complacency in the future.

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Niall Kelly

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