Long’ look in the mirror

by Staff Reporter

“THERE are a few people who need to look in the mirror, myself included.”
Jonny Cooper made little excuse for Dublin’s surprising O’Byrne Cup semi-final defeat to Longford on Monday morning. “They were just better, just cleaner and sharper. You can probably put it down to wanting it more,” added the Na Fianna man just a day after the midlands defeat speaking at the AIG Dublin GAA season launch at Parnell Park.
Having come on with 15 minutes to play in the Dub’s second O’Byrne Cup game against IT Carlow, Cooper went on to start the final group game and Sunday’s semi-final. He was joined by the likes of All-Ireland winners Stephen Cluxton, Philly McMahon, James McCarthy, Dean Rock and Paddy Andrews but that experience, mixed with several younger players, squandered Dublin’s chance of back-to-back O’Byrne Cups.
Dublin don’t lose very often and despite this defeat coming in a competition that holds little value on the grand scale, Cooper was asked does it still hurt to lose.
“Absolutely it hurts,” he replied sharply. “We don’t go out to lose any game, challenge or otherwise and there are a few people who need to look in the mirror. It just wasn’t good enough across the board, you can make any excuse or I can make any excuse but it just wasn’t good enough.”
With Kerry up first for Jim Gavin’s side in the National Football League next week, it was put to Cooper if he believed such a defeat could provide an early-season kick in the backside for the All-Ireland champions. “Absolutely, no better way,” he replied.
“We’ve Kerry in less than two weeks time so, if we thought we were doing anything right, maybe we have to revalue it and look in the mirror again and see where we are at. Again, all credit to Longford but it wouldn’t have been to the standards we set ourselves when you put on a Dublin jersey.”
Dublin have won three consecutive Allianz League titles under Gavin after a stint of 20 years (1992-93) without one. The 26-year-old corner-back was asked if their county’s recent success in the NFL was solely down to this management team’s approach to the competition.
“The way I see it is, the environment we’ve created, there is a lot of competition for places and I think the competition starts in the O’Byrne Cup.
“There are various guys that wouldn’t have played and various guys that did play so I think it’s just the way in which it works, the dynamic of the mantra which Jim and his management team have set-out.
“If you’re playing well, be it in training or in games, you get to keep your jersey and that competitions probably stemmed earlier in the year from January time and serves us well coming into April/May in the final of the national league. Hopefully, we do the same this year and this coming championship.”

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