Barney Rock watches and wonders about an ultra talented crop of Dublin footballers, who continue to set standards and chase silverware.
The dominant force in Leinster Dublin, who have won the last three All Ireland titles, remain the standard bearers in the game.
Still the freshness and desire Dublin bring to most matches, regardless of whether it is League or Championship, earns admirers and Rock feels one of the key reasons is how training is approached.
“I think the way it is structured with Dublin is you do your training and it doesn’t always have to be collectively,” Rock says. “You can do your weights work, you can have your programme and you have your own time from one end of the week to the other. You aren’t just going on a Tuesday and Thursday being stuck there from 6 until 11 or 12 at night.
“Everyone has their job to do so it seems to be good, they have their downtime. They just have to be clever about where they are and what they are doing. These fellas look after their bodies, that is the most important thing. If you don’t look after your body it is not going to look after you on the football field.”
Rock has trained several of the panel, including his accomplished son, Dean, with Ballymun Kickhams and on Dublin underage.
“This is the best crop of players in the sense that when you look at them they have all the physical attributes that the teams previously hadn’t the opportunities to do,” Rock adds.
“Definitely at this stage they are by far ahead of the rest of us because the game has changed a lot. It is much, much quicker – you have to be much fitter and more patient. There isn’t as much giving away the ball as there was back in our time.”
An All Ireland winner in 1983 with Dublin, Rock reckons it is crucial that the team deliver success having dealt with a tough spell between 1995 and 2011.
“I think Dublin just have to keep surging forward, to keep winning,” Rock remarks. “If you take Kerry down in Munster during my time they were winning maybe eight titles in a row down there and the same with other counties.
“It is harder in the north to win consecutive matches, but it was very hard for Dublin to do that for years. Dublin just seem to have come up with a bunch of lads, in the 70s, and in the 80s when we won three or four in a row, and the 90s we won maybe four and this present team since 2010 they haven’t been beaten in Leinster so they are pushing for eight in a row. Certainly it is good signs for them.
“All the players have won National Leagues or All Irelands whether they were panelists or playing on the team last year. From that point of view it is great for Dublin.”