Wednesday 23 October 2019

Cooper: I'll keep going as long as I can reach the standard

Dublin's Jonny Cooper. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Dublin's Jonny Cooper. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Dermot Crowe

Jonny Cooper has said he is happy to continue serving Dublin for another season, after picking up his sixth All-Ireland medal last weekend, if he "can meet the standard of the group".

In an extensive interview with the Sunday Independent, the Na Fianna club man talked about Dublin's historic five-in-a-row and his sending-off in the drawn match which almost torpedoed their bid for history. The 29-year-old first made the senior panel under Pat Gilroy in 2012.

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In the interview, Cooper talks of the difficult time trying to make the senior squad in the earlier years of the decade before he became a virtual ever-present.

Ironically, he said that hurling was his first love and he enjoyed the game because of the scope for continuous improvement. "You can go to the hurling wall for four hours and make yourself better." He spoke about this year's sending-off and how he felt his luck had run out when David Gough sent him to the line before half-time in the drawn match three weeks ago.

And he opened up about the darkest moment in his life when he was the victim of a vicious assault five years ago and how Jim Gavin was one of the first to visit him in hospital at the time.

"I probably spiralled a few times and was caught and brought back up. Just by allowing my mind to wander. Yeah, dark places. And then you are going, 'Ah no, you are ok, there's millions of people a lot worse off'. "

Winning five titles in a row wouldn't influence any decision on whether or not to stay playing.

"It's not even in my head, not in the slightest.

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"I just loved so much watching Stephen (Cluxton) lift the cup, standing down there among the analysis team and the coaches. And that's what gets me: the happiness it brings them. I don't think that trophies come into it."

Cooper will be back in club action for Na Fianna when they meet rivals Ballymun Kickhams in the Dublin SFC on Friday evening next at Parnell Park.

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