With 73 minutes on the clock, Dublin trailed Tyrone by a point on Saturday night at Croke Park and looked set for a first defeat in 30 League and Championship matches.
Mickey Harte’s Tyrone were moments from hanging on for an early season scalp, but Jim Gavin’s side fought strongly, and it was left for Dean Rock to salvage a draw.
The Ballymun Kickham’s forward showed no hangover from his earlier missed penalty to seal a draw with his sixth successful kick of the night.
The 26-year-old is an integral part the all-conquering All-Ireland and Allianz League champions, and is one of the most assured dead-ball specialists in the game.
Following a trophy laden 2016, Rock said that it was his best year from placed balls and the stats would back that up.
A 12-point haul against Kerry in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat of Kerry was followed by an uncharateristically off-day in the drawn final against Mayo (he missed four of his seven attempts), but repaid Gavin’s faith with a flawless seven from seven the following week, a game the Dubs won by just a single point.
"I would have finished up with probably 95pc (free-taking record) or so had it not been for the drawn game," he lamented afterwards.
Rock insists that he doesn’t feel any added pressure with the added duties.
“Obviously it’s a responsibility of mine for the team in order to score those frees,” he told RTÉ Radio Sport's Brian Carthy.
“All the practice I do was reflected the other night [against Tyrone], in terms of kicking a kick like that over the bar.
“I’d have great belief in my own ability to kick frees. I was confident the other night once I got a good strike on it that it would go over the bar.”
The forward also revealed that while he is somewhat of a perfectionist in terms of his preparation and practice of frees, away from the pitch, he prefers to switch off from all things football.
"This time of year it’s just putting the minutes in before and after training and I suppose they all add up towards the end of the week"
“Before training I always get out 10 minutes beforehand, and after training I stay back 10, 15 minutes after to practice to kicks,” he said.
“On my days off I like just to relax and unwind.
“I don’t really take a bag of balls out on those days...maybe in the summer when the weather is a bit better and the evenings are longer you can get a bit more practice done.
“Certainly this time of year it’s just putting the minutes in before and after training and I suppose they all add up towards the end of the week.”
Jack McCaffrey and Rory O’Carroll were high-profile absentees last year as Dublin secured their second successive Sam Maguire, and Rock too has spent a period of time away from the inter-county season.
The ace forward took travelled to America in 2010 and says it was the right dicision at that particular stage in his life.
“I just needed a break I suppose. I was young at the time and I just wanted to get away,” he said.
“I think we had just won the U21 All-Ireland that year.
“It’s something I wouldn’t regret.”
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