Rock talks about difficulties of early Dublin career

Rock talks about difficulties of early Dublin career

Former Dublin footballer Dean Rock has claimed that there was a time when he considered walking away from the sport because of how challenging his career was in the early days.

Rock, known as one of the best footballers in the country and for Dublin, retired this month with an impressive record, including 8 All-Ireland Senior Football titles, 12 Leinster SFC titles, six National Football League winners' medals, one U21 All-Ireland title, two U21 Leinster winners' medals, and three All-Stars since making his Dublin debut in 2013.

However, there was a time when Rock wasn't one of the key men, and a combination of injuries and non-selection calls made him consider his position with Dublin. When asked about a potential retirement back in the day, the Ballymun Kickhams star said, "It certainly would have crossed your mind.

"I would have been dropped from the panel in 2010 and then tore my hamstring off the bone in 2011, so I was gone for nine months with that, and then in 2012, I managed to come back and had a really good, strong campaign with the DCU Sigerson team, and Pat actually asked me up onto the senior panel then," he said.

"I got a few league games, but that summer, he dropped me off the panel again. I was sitting down to watch the Champions League final, Bayern Munich and Chelsea, and a call came in, and that was really, really hard to take because I'd come back from the hamstring off the bone—[the call to say] I wouldn't be in the squad."

Dean Rock of Dublin talks about career (Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Expanding further on his career, the now-33-year-old said failing to break into the Dublin team under former manager Pat Gilroy hurt him, and it wasn't until three years later that he started to forge a career for himself.

"Everyone has their own unique story, but certainly mine was quite challenging," he said. "I was on the bench here when Dublin lost by 17 points to Kerry in 2009 as a 19-year-old.

"I was on the bench that day, and I didn't feature in a championship game again until 2013, so it was a long journey.

"I suppose I probably, under Pat Gilroy, didn't fit into his style of play, and I found that quite difficult to break in there and just had to show a lot of perseverance and resilience to come back and eventually get back in there in 2013 when Jim [Gavin] really came in."

Rock's form for Ballymun Kickhams in the All-Ireland Club Championship in 2013 was the start of his incredible journey with Dublin. Rock compared his ascent into the Dublin team to a "snowball effect."

"I'd been performing really well with the club and county, so you're thinking, 'am I ever going to make it?' But thankfully I went back that year, won the club championship with Ballymun Kickhams for the first time since 1985, and that kind of catapulted me to having a really good campaign in the Leinster Club Championship and coming here for an All-Ireland club final.

"Then Jim got the job, and it kind of snowballed ever since then."

The Mayo vs. Dublin game will take place in Castlebar at 19:30 on February 3.