Two-time all-star Dublin forward Dean Rock needs to “bide his time” on the sidelines and wait for injuries if he wants to break into the Dublin starting 15, says former Tyrone midfielder Enda McGinley.
Three-time All-Ireland winner McGinley was speaking on Friday’s OTB AM and said that despite Rock’s record that he could not rationalise Jim Gavin dropping any of Dublin’s six other forwards to make room for free-expert Rock.
“It’s a conundrum for Jim Gavin and Dublin”, McGinley admitted.
“Jim Gavin has famously always said when you're in and you're playing well then it's up to you to hold on to the jersey.
“And none of those Dublin forwards are giving any opportunity to take that jersey off them. And you have Dean Rock sitting there and he does nothing wrong when he comes in either. So, they have serious quality there.”
McGinley rejected the idea that Gavin could make room for Rock by dropping Ciarán Kilkenny into midfield and said such a decision would be overloading the team with forwards when Dublin have “no problem with their attacking threat”.
Rather Gavin is more likely to focus on the side's defensive style than squeezing anymore forwards into the squad. Therefore, if Rock is to make his way back into the team, McGinley expects it to be an opportunity afforded to him through injuries.
“With three games on the bounce now and then into your semi-final you have seen with Jonny Cooper, you've seen with James McCarthy, injuries can happen.
“So, if all seven forwards remain fully fit then that's a headache Jim Gavin will have to deal with but he always likes to be able to have impact subs coming in off the bench.
“So, he’ll quite happily have that problem. But when you are replacing with that quality then the team won't miss a blink.”
Even when pushed to answer hypothetically who Rock would be most likely to replace if he was to force his way into the team, McGinley remained resolute.
“I would not drop any of them, to be honest.
“Possibly you could look at the likes of [Niall] Scully as less headline-grabbing than some of them but he does so much work and there is a lot of craft in his play. He creates an awful lot of space with the nature of his runs and he unlocks a lot of the more stubborn defences so I wouldn't replace him.
“So, to be honest, I would just have to console Dean Rock with the multiple All-Irelands that are weighing heavily in his pocket to just bide his time a wee bit and continue coming on [from the bench].
"Look, big games should come down to the final 20 minutes and that's when big players count and if he's turning to you at that stage to bring you on there are worse places to be in Gaelic football I imagine," McGinley concluded.