Dublin will put to bed all talk of their unbeaten run if they break Kerry’s record against Roscommon this Saturday evening, says Barney Rock.
A draw or victory for Jim Gavin’s men over the Connacht strugglers in Croke Park will make them history makers and, in turn, relieved of any pressure that goes with that pursuit, according to the Dublin great.
“I wouldn’t say that these fellas go and sit down and look at papers,” suggested Rock.
“They do know what’s going on around them, they’re an intelligent bunch of boys and, no matter what Jim says, it is there and I think if they go along and beat it on Saturday night, they won’t mind because that’s the end of it.
“It doesn’t matter then, they’ve beaten the record and that will be theirs forever... Well, forever until somebody else beats it.
“After that, it won’t matter if they play Monaghan and keep it going. People might make more of it but the record will be broken.
"If they beat that record on Saturday then they’ll be only thinking of the next match, against Monaghan, and getting into a league final.”
Rock senses his son Dean is thriving with being handed the responsibility of taking all frees since 2015, as he demonstrated in kicking over nine in the draw against Kerry on Saturday. That being said, he knows how the All Star is perceived as merely a deadball specialist.
“I think people just think he’s a free-taker, but the amount of work he does... like, the last ball that went in against Kerry, when he got it, maybe other fellas would have had a shot themselves but he was alert enough to see (Paul) Mannion who had a good left foot and he shoved the ball to Mannion who popped it over the bar.
“Before that, when the ball came in, he gave one to (Conor) McHugh. When everyone was charging at him, he slipped the ball to McHugh and McHugh hit a great ball over the bar with the outside of his foot.
“I think his vision is very, very good. If there’s someone in a better spot he will give it to the person in the better spot. To me, he probably doesn’t shoot enough but that’s the way...”
Rock feels Dean was as good a kicker two or three years ago but is more consistent now.
“He’s 27. He should be in his prime now. I remember Brian Mullins saying years ago, ‘when you hit 27, that’s your prime’.
"Unfortunately, when Brian was 27, he had that injury and that knocked him out so we lost him in his prime. But he still came back and played well after that. But at 27, he’s just got to keep pushing forward. And he wants to play every game. But it all depends on what Jim does.”
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