All-Star Dublin defender Jonny Cooper has admitted that setting a new record for Leinster championship wins won’t mean a huge amount to him.
Dublin will become the first Leinster team to win seven provincial titles in a row if they beat Kildare, as expected, in Sunday’s decider.
Cooper made his full championship debut in 2012, so hasn’t yet experienced defeat in the Leinster championship and agreed with the suggestion that this has diluted his experience of provincial success.
“That is a way of looking at it,” said Cooper. “I don’t know, it’s a good question. I don’t know, personally, if I look upon those medals, be they Leinster or even a previous year’s All-Ireland, as something that’s really up there. I just keep on rolling and keep on going through the framework of it all.
“Maybe I should be reflecting a lot harder on provincial and All-Ireland medals and taking it all in and taking stock of it. I don’t know if I look at it that way, though. I can’t speak for the rest of the lads, but I don’t know if I look at it that way.
“You get asked this a lot of times; are the provincials still important or is a medal still important in the province when you’ve won the last couple of years? I think the answer would be, ‘yes’, but obviously there’s a different focus now, because there are so many games and potentially a longer season. That’s the way we’ve been building the last few years.”
Most Dublin players would be happy for a repeat of their 2013 meeting with Kildare, as the Dubs won that provincial game by 16 points.
It wasn’t an entirely happy experience for Cooper, though, as he marked Paddy Brophy and conceded an early goal and a point.
Brophy spent two-and-a-half years as an Australian Rules player after that, but returned to the Kildare team recently and could pair off again with Cooper, who admitted he “got roasted” by the powerful attacker in the 2013 encounter, despite the overall result.
“That was my first or second start for Dublin,” said Cooper. “I remember it very vividly. I watched it a good few times. I slipped for the goal. Obviously, there’s a lot more to his game than beating me by slipping. If I was, or he was, playing the next day, I have no doubt I’d be looking forward to having a cut off him.
“Obviously, I learned from that experience. I watched it a good few times. My stance leg, I was at a diagonal when I planted my two feet, which I wouldn’t do now. I’d be a lot more square and solid in my base, so I learned a lot from it. I remember going straight into the next play. I think it was a good lesson for me going from play to play.
“Obviously, it was my mistake and the team conceded a goal because of me. I remember I went to the other side of the pitch to receive a kick-out from Stephen, so it was good to get that experience of dropping one thing, no matter what, and going on to the next play.”
He isn’t convinced Kildare will lose by 16 points again.
“I think there seems to be a good bit of expectation amongst themselves,” said Cooper. “It seems like they have a team and a manager and coach that have put a lot into them. They have a lot of good individuals, particularly from my end, who are quite dangerous.
"I’ve marked a couple of them. They have a very good offence and are very good at building a platform in the middle. They have threats in a lot of places.”
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