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Monday 26 September 2016

'Greedy' Bastick wants more medals

Lure of more silvermare pushed Dublin's veteran midfielder to go again this season as Kerry loom

Dublin’s Denis Bastick turns 35 next month but will hope to have another League medal to add to his collection before then. Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin’s Denis Bastick turns 35 next month but will hope to have another League medal to add to his collection before then. Photo: Sportsfile

Last September, Denis Bastick sat in the foyer of the Gibson Hotel on the morning after Dublin's All-Ireland triumph, his third, and appeared to quite happily call the proverbial fat lady in to sing goodnight to his own, late-flourishing inter-county career.

He reflected also on a harrowing week that had finished well.

On the Monday before the final, two men had 'fished' Bastick's keys out through the letter box in his front door and stole his car, contained in which were his young child's buggy and cash from tickets for the game.

Real life, adult stuff.

All year, Bastick had been asked why, at 34 and with a young and growing family, he had come back to a young man's game for another season and his response had coyly circled the glaring fact that after the Donegal shock in 2014, he and his team had unfinished business.

What's the motivation now?

"Greed," he smiles.

"Like, why does any sportsperson…why do Kilkenny stay coming back and winning?

"It doesn't get any less appealing to win an All-Ireland," he reasons.

"That hunger, that's always there. That stays there.

"Maybe," he continues, "it was the right time, starting an All-Ireland final and winning, to step away.

"Maybe that was the right time to go but for me at the moment I'm enjoying playing football, I'm enjoying playing on the team.

"Being involved in that group," Bastick adds, "it's a special place. It's a great place to be."

Indeed, he was back as early as January 3rd on the back pitch of St Patrick's Park in Enniscorthy, Wexford's fourth choice venue as it happens, one of just three starters from the All-Ireland final as Dublin drew with the hosts in the O'Byrne Cup on their first toe-dip into 2016.

It's the time of year when traditionally, footballers of his vintage, track matches like that on their iPhones from the comparative luxury of their couches.

"That was important for me," he explains.

"I knew from previous years that it wasn't a case where I could rock back up later on in the year and expect to fit back into the situation.

"I needed to be training and get fit early and get that momentum going and improve all along so when the opportunity comes up, you don't turn down the chance to play with Dublin and pull on the jersey.

"That's what I wanted to do and I got the opportunity to play against Wexford and I wanted to do well and move forward from that and I didn't want to try and play catch-up."

Bastick only made his senior championship debut with Dublin at 28 and won all three of his senior All-Ireland medals and each of his three League medals in his 30s. He captained the Dublin Juniors to All-Ireland glory in 2008.

He was there for the massacre at Kerry's hands in 2009 and the dramatic flip in fortunes in the rivalry since and says Dublin's confidence has changed as a result, though not their perception of Kerry.

Either way, he's one game away from another medal and more justification of his decision to continue.

"There was no convincing," he stresses. "For me it was a case of do I have something to contribute to the team? Can I add something? Can I add value to the team and to the group?

"I felt I could," Bastick adds, "and that's why I'm still here."

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