Rock putting Kickhams first as he looks to fulfil ‘experience of a lifetime’

Dean Rock insists that the “experience of a lifetime” with club side Ballymun Kickhams is more than worth harming his Dublin senior prospects for.

Rock is just an hour away from picking up an AIB All-Ireland club winners’ medal with the Dublin champions on St Patrick’s Day.

He’s been the key attacker for his club throughout their county, Leinster and All-Ireland campaigns so far though progress has come at the expense of his county career.

Just last week, new Dublin manager Jim Gavin admitted that his places are filling up quickly as the Leinster champions sit atop the Allianz League.

Gavin singled out Ballymun players when he stated it was “unfortunate” for them that they are not around at the moment to make their mark. Rock, 23, son of Dubs legend Barney, responded by insisting that chasing a breakthrough club success with Ballymun is more than worth the gamble. Asked if he would swap club for county right now, Rock said: “No, this is the experience of a lifetime. I think winning anything with your club is the best thing you can achieve in football.

“It’s just the camaraderie and friendships that you have, in the club, it’s just amazing. It’s definitely the best experience I’ve had in my career.”

The 2010 All-Ireland U21 medal winner was dropped off the senior panel last May ahead of the Leinster championship. It was a crushing blow, having bounced back from a long-term hamstring problem the previous year to play a key role in DCU’s Sigerson Cup success.

But he redoubled his efforts and was in Stillorgan yesterday to pick up his AIB provincial club player of the year award ahead of Sunday week’s All-Ireland final at Croke Park.

“I was very disappointed at the time being let go by Dublin,” said Rock. “But I made up my mind I wasn’t going to let it ruin my confidence.

“In fairness, Paul Curran was great to me at Ballymun. He worked on the stuff I needed to do better. Thankfully then we went on and got on a good run and I started playing well and everything went well, results-wise. But, yeah, it probably was the catalyst for doing so well this year.”

Rock was joined at yesterday’s function at the Radisson Hotel by Dr Crokes and Kerry attacker Brian Looney, who picked up the Munster club gong. After losing to Rock’s Ballymun in the All-Ireland club semi-final, he was on the bench with Kerry in Newbridge last Sunday for their two point Allianz League defeat to Kildare.

Looney insists Kerry have enough talent at their disposal to score a much needed win away to All-Ireland champions Donegal this weekend.

“There’s enough bodies in there,” he added. “I think we should have enough to go forward in the league, this weekend especially.”


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