Rugby-mad Dean Rock was an excited fan at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday as Ireland recorded a historic first-ever home win over New Zealand.

Rock has won five All-Ireland medals, famously kicking Dublin to their 2016 Sam Maguire win when he nervelessly shot over a last-gasp winning free following an epic tussle with Mayo.

The Ballymun Kickhams man played Leinster senior cup schools rugby for CUS as a teenager before committing to Gaelic football.

He admits that he’d be more likely to sit down and watch a game with the oval ball than any other sport and he got a massive buzz out of Ireland’s victory over the All Blacks.

"I was there on Saturday with Fento (Footballer of the Year, Brian Fenton) and there was a great atmosphere," said the 28-year-old, speaking to RTÉ Sport.

"It was nice to be at a sporting event like that as a supporter for a change. I’d be a massive rugby fan and I’d watch more of it than GAA."

Ireland facing down the New Zealand haka

In the build-up to the New Zealand game Rock was part of a delegation of Dublin footballers and hurlers that met some of the All Blacks for skills challenge.

And last year he joined Ireland out-half and Leinster captain Jonathan Sexton for a kicking clinic in Donnybrook with legendary performance coach Dave Alred.

Alred worked with England’s Jonny Wilkinson during their 2003 Rugby World Cup win, which was won by a Wilkinson drop-kick in the final with Australia, and current British Open champion golfer Francesco Molinari.

"I would have met a lot of the Ireland players at different events over the years," said Rock. "I wouldn’t be pally with them, but there’s a lot of respect there.

"Johnny got in touch through a mutual friend and invited me down to a session with Dave last year. It was great just to be in the presence of the two of them, to share knowledge and talk the same language."

Rock says he can see a lot of similarities between Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and Dublin manager Jim Gavin, two of the most successful leaders currently in Irish sport.

Alred working with Jonny Wilkinson

Schmidt led Ireland to a Six Nations Grand Slam and a series victory over Australia Down Under this year, before the ground-breaking win over the All Blacks.

Gavin has brought Dublin to five All-Ireland titles in six seasons, including the recent four in-a-row.

"They are two great coaches," said Rock. "And you can see that both of our set-ups are very player-led; leaders take on-field decisions. Both of them encourage players to take ownership."

Rock works as fundraising and communications manager at Stewarts Care, an organisation that provides care for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Rock at the launch of Night at the Oskars

He is currently busy organising their Night at the OsKaRs, their big fund-raiser for the year which will see movies made by Stewarts Care’s service users screened to 500 guests at Citywest Hotel on Thursday, 22 November.

Tickets are available on the night or from reception in Stewarts Care and cost €25 with all funds raised going towards respite services. The event starts at 8.0pm.

Rock and the rest of the Dublin panel are currently enjoying a well-earned break after their recent All-Ireland four in-a-row. They are going on their team holiday in January, a cruise around the Caribbean, and then it’s straight back into training ahead of the start of the Allianz League.