** Cóilin Duffy
JONNY Cooper has urged caution as Dublin Footballers begin the ‘Drive for Five’ this Saturday, with a Leinster senior football championship quarter-final against Louth at O’Moore Park (7pm).
There’s no live TV from Portlaoise for the game which forms part of a Leinster quarter-final double-header with Carlow and Meath in the curtain-raiser – and Cooper knows Dublin will have to be sharp, if they are to avoid a potential slip-up.
Already in the championship, teams of lower ranking in the league have accounted for higher counterparts. Cooper doesn’t want this to happen his side.
“What’s always been our mantra, and what has worked for us in the past is giving our opposition the respect they deserve,” he told the Dublin Gazette at AIG’s #EffortisEqual campaign launch.
“We’ll look at as much footage as we can to get to know them as best we can.
“We’ll try to highlight areas that we can capitalise on, but also stop them, because equally they have some dangerous players, particularly offensively.”
Cooper says the club month has really refreshed his side after a disappointing league campaign, which saw Dublin fail to reach the final for the first time since 2012.
“There’s a good healthy buzz around our camp certainly. We had a good club four weeks away which gave us good refreshment, and was a good energiser to go away and reflect, and do good work with our clubs and with ourselves.
“I think it serves as a great benefit to us to give us a break; keep us involved in a different way, but also give us an opportunity to come back with a refreshed and energised mind-set.”
Cooper acknowledges Dublin made a lot of mistakes during the league this year.
“I think the team as a whole – we got what we deserved I guess,” he said.
“In many respects we weren’t at the pitch of it in some of the games that we lost in particular, and obviously the results went against us.
“We reflect on ourselves, and I think the main things we took out of it was that when you don’t work hard, and work for each other, and invest the time that’s required at this level you get caught out.
“It’s a big lesson for us, going into what will be a big game against Louth.”
Since the club action, many players have got their chance to come into the Dublin squad, including Kilmacud Crokes Rory O’Carroll.
“He’s back in, and he has an equal opportunity like the rest of us,” Cooper said.
“He went off and done his own thing for the last few years and more power to him, even more so now having an opportunity off the back of his club performances, coming back in and pushing as hard as anyone else to do so.”