Cooper wary of ‘one bad game’ in the SFC

by Gazette Reporter
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JOHNNY Cooper played down Dublin dominance in the Leinster Championship recently, saying that the boys in blue are only ever one bad game away from an end to their control.
“Every other county is out to get us,” Cooper said at the launch of Dublin’s new jersey. “I think we have to be as sharp as we can be, otherwise we’re going to get caught. That’s what happened two years ago [when the Dubs lost to Donegal].”
Somewhat generously looking for serious challenges in the road to Leinster glory, Cooper credited “the usuals, Meath, Kildare” as the Dubs rivals on the road to the championship’s more challenging stages.
“We’re not looking too much at other teams if we’re honest,” he said. “The pundits and the media are saying the gap is getting bigger. For us, it is what it is.
“We try and look after ourselves. It’s up to everyone else to row their own boat, and that’s what we do, certainly.
“Potentially, the next challenge won’t come until August,” Cooper admitted. “We got great games at the end of the league this year with Kerry in the final and it was great to be testing ourselves.
“It’s just peaks and troughs I suppose. We have a Leinster championship game next and we’re looking forward to it.”
Their next tie is on June 6 at Nowlan Park against Laois in the provincial quarter-final
“The process if the same for us,” Cooper said of the trip down to Nowlan Park, which will be the Dubs first championship game away from home in a decade. “It’s the same dimensions of a pitch.
“There will be a buzz around it for everyone else, but for us it will just be business as usual, it’s just another stadium.”
Asked about the extra responsibility of being one of the more experienced players on the panel, Cooper joked “I’m getting old. 26!” before explaining “initially you are sort of looking to everyone else to see who’s going to step up. Luckily enough, there’s a good number of boys who’ve had some good game time in the league.
“I’ve always said it’s quite dynamic, from my experience you can play in a number of positions in a number of eventualities.
“I’ve always felt pressure playing since I got a start with Jim [Gavin], and it’s been no more or no less this year [without Rory Carroll, who has relocated to New Zealand]. You’d miss them to a certain extent, but you wish them good luck and you get on with it.”
Tickets for the start of Dublin’s All Ireland defence in Nowlan Park, Kilkenny are already close to sell out at the time of writing. For all Cooper’s modesty, the Dubs be expecting a comfortable win.

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