Dublin's Jonny Cooper reveals Jim Gavin has never had to enforce a drinking ban

By Paul Keane

Dublin defender Jonny Cooper has admitted that he and some of his three-in-a-row All-Ireland winning colleagues avoided alcohol all year.

The 28-year-old corner-back said manager Jim Gavin has never had to enforce a drinking ban because most players call it on themselves anyway, or know when it's okay to partake.

Cooper revealed he did have 'a few' on one occasion during the season but other than that went on the dry from their team holiday in early January until after the All-Ireland win in September.

The Na Fianna man believes a 'culture' of self regulation exists within the high-achieving group and said he personally doesn't view it as much of a sacrifice.

Asked at the launch of the Bord na Mona O'Byrne Cup if manager Gavin believes in drink bans like some club and county managers around the country, Cooper shook his head.

"I don't think it's ever been a formal conversation in a team setting," said Cooper. "Even this time of the year, I'm sure they do have the odd blow out, they're no different to me.

"But I'm sure they do keep one eye on what's coming down the tracks. Christmas is obviously going to be busy for everyone but straight away in January you're going to be hitting the training hard."

Dublin will holiday in South Africa later this month and return on January 7 after which they'll get stuck into full pre-season training ahead of the Allianz League.

"I think now everything is so driven, and even those small margins are important," Cooper continued. "And drink obviously affects you, potentially for a couple of days, and makes you feel not too good afterwards in most cases.

"And all the things around performance and small margins and gains are so important, particularly in season.

"I personally went from our holiday last year right through to September (without drinking), I think it was one night or evening I had a few. But I know lads who were off it completely.

"Just because if you're out 'til three or four, two or three, and you're trying to get up, it just doesn't add up.

"And it's so competitive now that no-one's willing to give too much room for somebody else to nudge them out of the way for any reason.

"That's probably one of the reasons. Lads do it differently, I'm sure lads have pints after games, or I see the rugby lads do it all the time and it doesn't seem to affect them too much. So maybe it's just the culture that we're in at the moment, whether it's right or wrong I don't know.

"I don't mind, I went a good number of months without it. And without too much hassle."

The tight marking defender admitted that his close season is generally broken up into two parts - a month or so of eating exactly what he wants and then getting back to routine.

He said: "I love a pizza. And in fairness when I'm not involved with teams, I don't mind doing it, I've no conscience about it. But when I am involved it wouldn't even come into my thoughts."



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