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Shamrock Gavin ready to Rock against former comrades

ALREADY, he has prised apart the most adhesive Dublin club defences and on Sunday in Mullingar, many of the Dublin and Westmeath eyes will again be fixed on Dean Rock.

His senior inter-county snubbings aside, Rock has made a sizzling impression on just about every other team he has represented and has already been given the nod by Jim Gavin to assume a spot on his provisional Dublin panel whenever Ballymun Kickhams' Leinster or All-Ireland escapade ends.

He was top scorer for the Dublin U21s in their 2010 All-Ireland final triumph (2-20 in five games; 1-0 pen, 0-14f, 0-1 '45'). Ditto with Ballymun in their Evening Herald Dublin SFC (0-36 in six games; 0-21f, 0-1 '45', 0-1 sideline, 0-1 penalty) and he was no less influential for DCU in their Sigerson Cup win earlier this year.


Kieran Gavin, captain of that DCU team and also of Mullingar Shamrocks fame, goes so far as to describe Rock as "our best player" during the Sigerson run and intriguingly, the Westmeath senior should find himself in direct combat with his old team-mate in Cusack Park this Sunday.

"Dean Rock is top quality," Gavin told the Herald. "He was our best player in the Sigerson. He definitely has the talent to do it at intercounty level. I hope he gets a shot at it next year because I think he could flourish on the intercounty scene."

That Sigerson team also contained Rock's fellow 'Mun men Philly McMahon and James McCarthy and Gavin describes them both as "real quality", adding "but that's what we want -- the chance to test ourselves against these fellas."

As Gavin notes, both Shamrocks and Kickhams find themselves aboard similar boats. Mullingar won their first county final in 12 years a couple of Sundays back -- a day before the 'Mun ended their own 27-year famine but neither were long about re-calibrating their ambitions.

Yet whereas Ballymun set the early running and clung on desperately and effectively for dear life in their final victory over Kilmacud Crokes, Mullingar needed two cracks and a fairly epic comeback to dislodge Garrycastle from their perch.

"We were very confident going into the first game and then all of a sudden, five minutes into the second half, we found ourselves nine points down," he recalls.

"I thought to myself: 'what is happening here?' We didn't legislate for that at all.

"But we've come back in a lot of games before that. In the quarter-final against Tyrrellspass, we scored four (points) in the last five minutes so even though a couple of times we looked down and out, we've come back. There is huge character.

"We were the right age to win," he continues. "We've been around and knocking on the door and a lot of the lads are in the their mid-20s and just really determined to win it," says Gavin, before turning his attention to Sunday's duel in Cusack Park, Mullingar.

"It's a good thing that the lads have got their heads around it and quickly started looking at the next game. Training has been good so ... ready to rock."