Johnny Cooper was in Parnell Park on Monday to help AIG Insurance launch details of their latest travel insurance offering. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

NA FIANNA star Jonny Cooper knows there will be tougher days ahead for the Dublin senior footballers starting with their Leinster football final against Kildare on July 16, after he and the rest of the team enjoyed a comfortable 31-point win over Westmeath in the semi-final.
The 4-29 to 0-10 win over the midlanders kept the Dubs on track for a record breaking seventh Leinster title in a row but, such was Dublin’s dominance, sweeper Cooper was left redundant for large parts of the game.
“I thought the lads were going well in various positions and Jim was able to chop and change,” said Cooper at the launch of sponsor AIG’s new travel insurance deal. “I did a good bit of work in fairness; I wasn’t just sitting idle and watching on. I did a good bit of work to try and prove myself.”
Dublin have had things their own way in Leinster for a long time now but the resurgence of Kildare over the last couple of years has sparked hopes of greater competition for the boys in blue.
Cooper knows Kildare are likely to pose a stiff challenge but he insists Dublin are still focused mainly on getting their own game right.
“I’ve seen bits of them just from the games that were on TV but in terms of our own work we will probably start stuff this week and a small bit into next week. Then we’ll probably pull back from them and just start to focus on ourselves.”
Cooper also gave his view on the recent furore surrounding the team. Teammate Diarmuid Connolly was suspended for 12 weeks for ‘minor physical interference’ with linesman Ciaran Brannigan during their 12 point win over Carlow in the Leinster quarter-final.
“I’m sure he’s very aware, now that he is suspended, of the ramifications of not staying in check with his actions.
“He has had a lot of distractions the last couple of weeks so I think he is just trying to stay in his own bubble and on the Dublin senior football train of thought.
“He looks to me like he is very focused. I don’t know whether I am interpreting that wrong or he could be feeling something else but he looks to me very focused on, maybe, trying to get back into the team if we are to progress.”
Playing on the edge in order for a player to get the best out of themselves is not unusual in GAA and, like Connolly, it is something Cooper needs.
“I find going to the line or going as close to the line without overstepping is something that is important for me in terms of me performing and competing against the best of the best,” Cooper concluded.