Monday 20 January 2020

Bastick: We're trying to get to a stage where hype doesn't affect us

If you had told Bastick that day that the worm was about to turn, he wouldn’t have believed you. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
If you had told Bastick that day that the worm was about to turn, he wouldn’t have believed you. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Rewind back to the 2009 All-Ireland quarter-final and Denis Bastick is trudging off the Croke Park pitch. Bastick had started full-back on a team that had been taken for 1-24 and the Templeogue Synge St man had played every one of the agonising 70 minutes.

That result and the game is, he says, "ingrained on his heart".

"You don't forget and you don't forgive either. But you just have to move on."

If you had told Bastick that day that the worm was about to turn, he wouldn't have believed you. That seven years down the line Dublin would be looking for a fourth All-Ireland title in six seasons and a fourth win on the bounce over Kerry in the championship. And that Bastick, who didn't make his championship debut until 28, would still be a key part of things at 35.

"After 17 points of a defeat you wouldn't, you'd laugh I suppose, wouldn't you," he reasons.

"But that just shows how fickle sport is, how it can change, and how you're only as good as your last game. Things change and teams change and stats change and stuff like that.

"It's a case of where that's in the past, it's there, and it'll eventually be where there'll be no-one left from '09 that'll be going on so there'll be no connection there."

What Dublin haven't mastered yet is the business of defending Sam. This is the third time that Bastick and co will attempt to retain the All-Ireland and he feels they are getting better at it. The euphoria that surrounded the 2011 win almost certainly affected the 2012 campaign, he admits. But there was a "huge difference" between that winter, and the one just gone by.

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"2011 was all new to us. 2015 wasn't. Everybody wanted a piece of us. And that was important to do that for the city and for the schools and the families and stuff like that. But I think we've moved on from that stage and so maybe have supporters who have gotten used to winning a bit more since.

"We realise that while it's important to celebrate and do that. You can't take away from your position the following year.

"If it's going to affect it that much then you're not doing the right things. But we have to go and do what most teams have to do on the back of a win and that was important too. But I think we over-extended ourselves possibly and that was very difficult to get back the following year."

So Dublin have grown up. They've moved long past the era where the "hype" within the city and media was blamed for taking their teams down. Though a more reasonable explanation is that this team is much better than the ones that preceded them.

"And all the noise around that doesn't help you on the pitch. It doesn't make you any better. It can make you worse. So why let any of that get into you if it's not going to help you as a footballer?

"That's a difficult task, especially in Dublin with all you guys around here and papers flying out the door and stuff like that. But we're trying to get to a stage where none of the media will affect us, or the hype."

So have they got the mix right this time to emulate the achievements of the men of the 1970s and win back-to-back titles?

"You think you're okay and looking back at other years like, say, 2012, when we came off the back of the 2011 win and you think you're okay and you think you've got the hunger and you think you've trained well and you don't realise until the whistle goes at the end of the match that what you did wasn't enough, you know?

"There's no way really of finding out until the very end."

Irish Independent

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