Dubs star Denis Bastick: 'It's win or we're out on our a***s'
Bastick grateful ankle woe didn't end his summer dreams
THERE'S two ways of viewing yesterday morning's draw for the All-Ireland qualifiers from a Dublin perspective.
There's the permutations angle, one that features strongly - almost bordering inevitability - the losers of this coming Saturday's Munster final replay as potential All-Ireland quarter-final opponents, though Kildare and Fermanagh remain alternatives, unlikely though they are.
And there's the more blunt aspect Denis Bastick chooses to see it from.
"Now we're into real Championship football," the Dublin midfielder states. "No back door. No mistakes.
"This is it. We're out on our arses if we mess up."
Out on their arses is precisely where Dublin haven't wound up after an All-Ireland quarter-final since 2009, comprising one of the last four of every Championship since.
So often have they walked down this road, they know every pothole and crevice on its terrain.
"The season kind of comes in two phases," Bastick outlines. "Part one is finished now and it's just about going forward now and seeing how we can do in the second part."
"I think you can set yourself. You can plan. You know exactly when the next games are. So it's good from a training point of view.
"You can pace that out. You know exactly where you are.
"You have less games in the front door and look ahead. So that's the way you want to go."
Last time we spoke to Denis Bastick, he was the appointed Dublin football representative at a promotional gig.
The event itself was made highly awkward by the fact that the 33-year-old arrived on crutches en route to Santry Sports Clinic to have a scan done on an ankle he had injured just 24 hours previous in a club match.
"Yeah, I suppose it turned out to be worse than I initially thought," Bastick recalls now, having started the Longford win but missing the Kildare match entirely as a result of the injury.
"You just need to get yourself back right and that's what I did. So I was happy to come on (against Westmeath)."
"That's sport. That's what happens. So these things actually make you stronger. They make you appreciate it more.
"I suppose, once you do have a break, you do miss the sharpness.
"But I felt I had a good bank of work done early on in the year and that does actually stand to you.
"We have good trainers and we have good plans put in place for any guys who are missing so you catch up fairly quickly.
Did he fear for his season, a la 2014?
"Those doubts cross your mind," Bastick admits.
"And yeah, they're the negative thoughts you have. But I've been around a while now and you know to put them to the back of your head and look forward. That's the only way of doing it."
Now, he's a decent bet to push either Michael Darragh Macauley or Brian Fenton to the brink of their All-Ireland quater-final starting spot.
Sunday was very much about winning Leinster and Dublin were adamant that familiarity with the feat hadn't bred apathy.
"It's a great achievement," Bastick insisted.
"There's lads out there on the team winning their first one and then there's Clucko winning his 11th. So there's a huge spread across the team.
"Every one of us ... it means something to us. We don't disregard it. It's a national competition and it's another medal.
"I'm sure we'll appreciate it more when we're finished or at the end of the year but great to have won it."
That all comes later though.
For now, it's win or out on their arses.