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Dublin manager Jim Gavin absorbs lesson from Fermanagh All-Ireland scare


Warning shot: Peter McGrath shakes hands with Dublin boss Jim Gavin

Warning shot: Peter McGrath shakes hands with Dublin boss Jim Gavin

?INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Warning shot: Peter McGrath shakes hands with Dublin boss Jim Gavin

Dublin manager Jim Gavin is preparing to take a sharp lesson absorbed from his team's quarter-final win over Fermanagh into Sunday's All-Ireland final against Kerry.

Peter McGrath's side racked up an impressive 2-15 against the Dubs in a game in which they were expected to be all but humiliated.

Instead, McGrath's men fired a warning shot across the Dublin bow - and Gavin is quick to acknowledge this.

"I think that any lapses in concentration you saw on our part in the game against Fermanagh were exploited and with the intensity now moved up, that lack of consistency would be nowhere near good enough against this Kerry team," said the Dublin boss.

Gavin candidly admitted he was given food for thought by Fermanagh's resilient performance - so much so, in fact, that he has been hammering home the message of total concentration on the training ground since then.

"We do realise that going down the stretch against Mayo in the replay, that game could have gone either way to be honest," said Gavin.

"But I thought that while hard questions were again asked of our players, the spirit that I see every day, their resolve, their determination which they have shone through and got us over the line."

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At the start of the year, Dublin were being held up as red hot favourites to win the All-Ireland title, the thinking being that Kerry might be in something approaching transitional mode. But after gliding smoothly through the Leinster championship, Dublin encountered a reality check against bubbly Fermanagh before their two strenuous ties against Mayo.

The upshot of this is that Kerry are now perceived to be in the driving seat for Sunday's contest, especially after the manner in which they clinically closed out their semi-final against Tyrone.

Dublin expect to face a torrid midfield tussle on Sunday as Kerry pair David Moran and Anthony Maher perhaps form the best engine-room in the country.

"From their Munster final replay against Cork, Kerry have certainly won every midfield battle," added Gavin.

"Maher and Moran are two colossal players, but Bryan Sheehan can easily step in there, Johnny Buckley and Donnchadh Walsh as well.

"They have all those players who can win that primary possession around the midfield area. It's one of their strengths and nobody's been able to go after it yet, so it's a big challenge for us in that department."

DAVID Coldrick has been asked to fulfil a most unenviable task this weekend.

The Meath whistler will take charge of the All-Ireland final at a period during which referees have never been under more pressure both on and off the field.

In the past month, three high-profile players have had red cards they incurred in major matches rescinded on appeal thus triggering the widespread belief that the job of referees is being rendered virtually impossible.

Coldrick, who took charge of the 2007 and 2010 All-Ireland finals, will be under immense pressure although his experience of big-match occasions should stand to him when the heat is on.

Yet the manner in which the red cards incurred by Kevin Keane (Mayo), Tiarnan McCann (Tyrone) and Diarmuid Connolly (Dublin) were overturned has caused dismay - indeed outrage.

Keane clearly punched Donegal skipper Michael Murphy in the face yet on appeal had his red card reduced to a yellow and was selected for the semi against Dublin.

Connolly, who also punched Mayo's Lee Keegan, was duly sent off yet played in the replay after he successfully invoked the powerful Disputes Resolution Authority.

And McCann, deemed to have brought the sport into disrepute by feigning injury during Tyrone's win over Monaghan, was red-carded but was subsequently cleared of any offence and played in the semi-final against Kerry.

The rescinding of these three reds has sparked an unprecedented wave of cynicism mixed with derision throughout the GAA with the entire disciplinary process now being called into question.

When Coldrick takes the field on Sunday, he will come under the closest scrutiny, although it may be of some help to him that he has already taken charge of championship matches in which Kerry and Dublin have been involved.

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