Bastick braced for kick-out war-zone as he guns for glory
Published 18/09/2015 | 02:30
Kick-outs and the tactics that surround them have become a huge part of the game now but Denis Bastick has been around so long that he remembers when restarts were just that - a way to get the game going again.
"Initially, when I started off first, it was a matter of putting the ball down and kicking it out as far as possible," Bastick recalls.
"You had the likes of Dermot Earley, Ciaran Whelan, Darragh O Se and these guys who were built to go out there and catch the ball.
"There wasn't much of a strategy to it. You beat your man to the ball or you didn't.
"Being involved in a team that has Stephen Cluxton, I have come through the transition of kick-outs over the years. There have been lots of changes over the last few years.
"The one guarantee in a game is that you are going to have 40 kick-outs. That's 40 potential possessions."
It's totally different now than what it was. Both teams' approach to restarts have been widely discussed ahead of Sunday's All-Ireland final, and depending on what Dublin want to do, Bastick's starting place could be under threat, particularly in light of the impact Michael Darragh Macauley made when introduced in the semi-final replay win over Mayo.
"What I do know is that they have a really strong midfield," Bastick says. "They're really talented around that area and we'll have to come up with a plan to play against it.
"What they've done to date is to kick out long and back their midfielders. That brings challenges in terms of breaking ball and winning primary possession.
"And we'll have to be ready for it if they do push up."
Along with Bernard and Alan Brogan, Paul Flynn and Diarmuid Connolly, Bastick is one of just a handful of survivors from the 2009 hammering at the hands of Kerry.
But he refuses to accept that the All-Ireland final will be his last appearance for Dublin.
"I've had a lot of game time in a Dublin jersey this year, which has been fantastic," he says. "Every time you get to put it on is special.
"For me, up to this date has been quite good, but it's the next game that's the most important thing and trying to win that and then we'll re-assess where we are.
"It's fantastic to be back in an All-Ireland final.
"When you set out at the start of the year this is where you want to be.
"There's obviously nothing won yet but we're in with a chance now."