"These guys are probably a little different to the process-assassins we would have had" - Rock on Dublin's new mindset
Dean Rock says that the Dublin senior footballers played off emotion this year more than in previous years.
Joe Brolly gave them plenty to play around with.
The inimitable Derryman complained in his Sunday Independent column last week that he has received little to no gratitude for his work with them as an 'amateur motivational guru.'
He has a point.
Brolly, of course, had written during the League that Dublin 'had become bores — backwards, sideways, nothingness footballers.' Five months on and they were All-Ireland champions.
Brolly claims that his column lit a fire under the Dublin team and speaking to us on Thursday, Dean Rock didn't deny that point.
A few days after winning the All-Ireland, let's not forget, John Small and Rock had shared the article as their very own 'well Joe Brolly, what do you think of that?' moment.
— John Small (@JohnSmall6) August 5, 2023
And while it wasn't hanging on the dressing room wall, it was noted. Take that, process assassins.
"I think we played a bit more off emotion this year than we usually would have," Rock says at the Budweiser Combine event.
"We would have been very process-driven in that sense (in previous years) and tried to be emotionless at times.
"But we probably veered more to the emotion side of it this time. We were still obviously very dedicated to our game-plan but certainly, little things like that (the Joe Brolly article) got in at the group, and did motivate to a certain degree," Rock says.
"I think we tweeted that stuff with a few beers on us to be honest, but it's done now. A bit of craic."
Rock says that the return of Pat Gilroy also changed the mindset, as did the attitude of young players like Lee Gannon. But while it did work for the team this year, Rock would still be concerned that using emotion for motivation 'doesn't have much shelf-life.'
"The team has transformed a little bit, the likes of Lee Gannon and these guys are probably a little bit different to the process-assassins that we would have had previously but it's all good. The team has to evolve.
"We weren't jumping out of the dressing room trying to prove people wrong in every game.
"We were trying to go after our standards still and stuff like that, but for individuals and for the collective - at times - we did play off emotion.
"Thankfully, it did work for us this year. I don't know if it's a recipe for long term success, because I don't think there's much shelf-life for that, but it did work for us this year."
Off the field, congrats are in order for Rock, who has been living a very hectic life. He was married to former Dublin ladies footballer Niamh McEvoy shortly after the All-Ireland, got a mini-honeymoon in too before playing a Dublin championship game for Ballymun Kickhams.
He freely admits it's been the 'best couple of weeks of my life' which means that, at this stage, he hasn't got around to making a decision about his Dublin future. That will be made, he says, over the coming weeks.
"The season comes around a lot sooner, the League starts in January, so if you were going back, you'd want to be back in October doing the pre-season stuff ahead of January.
"Over the next two months, you'll be weighing up your options and seeing what lies ahead.
"But whatever decision you make, you just have to be 100% on it. You can't go back half-hearted when you know you shouldn't because then it could end on a bitter note. So we'll see what happens over the next couple of months."
"The main thing is playing with the club now. Enjoy that. Ultimately, you want to get a good run with your club. We've probably under-performed with the club over the last few years, not getting out of the group, so to get out of the group now is a massive priority for us now and hopefully get into a quarter final.
"We've two very difficult games now coming up against Templeogue first, and if we're lucky enough to win that, we play Ballinteer to see who can go through to a quarter final. But yeah, it's great to get back onto the pitch and back to normality after the madness of the last few weeks."