On the day Dublin destroyed Derry in the 2014 Allianz league final, you’d have got long odds on Dean Rock featuring in their next 60 competitive games.
The son of Dublin legend Barney didn’t kick a ball that day as he recovered from knee surgery and still hadn’t started a league game.
Injuries mainly mitigated against him in those early years and having played for Leinster as far back as 2009, it wasn’t until 2015 that he finally nailed down a jersey.
Throw in his five appearances in the 2014 Championship and you have 59 games in a row that the Ballymun man has now played for Dublin, starting all but seven.
It’s an incredible feat of longevity, particularly in such a successful team, and he looks set to reach the magical 60 mark against Offaly or Wicklow in the Leinster championship next month.
“I want to play every game possible,” said Rock, last year’s All-Ireland final game breaker.
“Before 2013, there were games that I thought I should have been playing in and I wasn’t. So any opportunity that I possibly get I’m going to try to play for Dublin.
“If my form is good and if Jim Gavin wants to pick me, I’m ready. I take great pride in my recovery and what I do off the field so I certainly put myself in a position to train at every opportunity and to play games at every opportunity.
“That’s the most enjoyable thing about Gaelic games, playing the games, and especially putting on a Dublin jersey and going out in front of whatever amount of thousand people in Croke Park, or if it’s going down to Castlebar, or Killarney, whatever the case may be.
“So it’s something that I am proud of, yeah, and long may it continue.”
Rock counts the 2015 O’Byrne Cup, when he hit 38 points, as his platform to success and he has been a first team player pretty much ever since.
“It’s just looking after the body as best I can, just doing every sort of recovery imaginable, to make sure that my body is in as good a shape as it can possibly be for competitive games and in particular for training,” said Rock.
“I would have had an operation on my knee in 2014, tore my hamstring off the bone in 2010, so I’ve had injuries in the past that have kept me out for long periods of time.
“It’s just trying to manage them, trying to stay on top of them as best I can. You do that through good recovery.”
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