Thursday 19 April 2018

Barney and Dean rock on towards a place in history

Dean (p) has scored 1-45 (0-38 from frees and ‘45s) while O’Connor is on 2-28 (2-21 from frees, ‘45s and penalties). Photo: Sportsfile
Dean (p) has scored 1-45 (0-38 from frees and ‘45s) while O’Connor is on 2-28 (2-21 from frees, ‘45s and penalties). Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Whatever about the outcome of the All-Ireland final, it promises to be a historic occasion for the Rock family as Barney and Dean become the first father-and-son combination to top the championship charts.

Barney, a great favourite of Hill 16 patrons, was the championship's top scorer for three successive years from 1983-85 while Dean goes into Sunday's game 14 points clear of Mayo's Cillian O'Connor, who is his closest pursuer.

Dean has scored 1-45 (0-38 from frees and '45s) while O'Connor is on 2-28 (2-21 from frees, '45s and penalties).

Rock senior led the scoring charts in 1983 (6-26), 1984 (5-24) and 1985 (3-28). Despite that, he won only one All-Ireland medal, when scoring 1-6 of Dublin's total of 1-10 against Galway in 1983.

His goal remains one of best examples of opportunism in a final as he steered a long-range kick into the net after spotting goalkeeper, Padraig Coyne off his line.

Dublin lost to Kerry in both the 1984 and 1985 finals. Barney's highest yield in a 39-game championship career, which ran from 1980 to 1991, was 1-9, scored against Longford in 1982.

Dean, who made his championship debut in 2013, beat his father's highest score when posting 1-10 against Laois in the Leinster quarter-final in early June.

Barney is still regarded as one of the best free takers in football history. All his kicks were taken off the ground, as required by the rules at that time, whereas Dean combines ground strikes with kicks from the hand.

He takes most of the short range kicks from his hands while going for ground strikes with the efforts from distance. His all-round accuracy has effectively ended Stephen Cluxton's role as Dublin's long-range kicker.

That's ironic since Cluxton became the first goalkeeper pressed into free-taking duties some years ago. Now, many counties deploy their No 1s in a similar role, even if the success rate isn't all that high in some cases.

Meanwhile, Paul Geaney (Kerry) leads the championship charts from open play, having scored 3-13 (22pts), leaving him four clear of Tipperary pair Michael Quinlivan (2-12) and Conor Sweeney (3-9).

It leaves Diarmuid Connolly, on 1-14, requiring a total of six points against Mayo to overtake Geaney. Bernard Brogan (1-9) and Kevin McManamon (1-8) are Dublin's next highest scorers from open play while Jason Doherty is Mayo's top marksman with 3-4 from play.

Irish Independent

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