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Guarded Jim Gavin backing his Dublin side to come back stronger after Mayo collapse

By Declan Bogue

A Jim Gavin interview is never quite what you expect, and you needn't go looking for questions to be answered.

Asked if his side went into his shell, he responds. Here is what he said, "I don't think so, no.

"Mayo played well, they came at us hard, got a couple of frees, couple of scores and it was an exciting game. There was a lot of errors in it."

Bear in mind that his side were seven points up with nine minutes to go. But hey, they didn't go into their shell.

More credibly, he adds straight after: "For our part the game will do us a world of good, we haven't experienced that intensity all season, it was four weeks since our last game and we will be the better team for it the next day."

Gavin took off Dean Rock at half-time, their dependable freetaker, with him off the pitch, Dublin missed three scoreable frees. Asked if it was a regret of his, he responded: "Yeah, we are fortunate to have some good freetakers in the team. You seen Diarmuid get one from right-half forward position. Stephen has been kicking them very well in games as well.

"It's the squad that we have and every player needs to play his part. I am sure Dean will be fighting hard for his spot the next day."

It's an art form of his now, answering a question by means of deflection.

However, he did cut the jargon out when asked if this was a completely different test to say, when they beat Fermanagh by eight points the last day out.

"Of course it is," said Gavin.

"Players have less time on the ball and the passing with the foot in both halves was a little bit off. It's very hard to replicate that in training. I think we will come out the far side of this experience much better for it. Those 80-odd minutes out there will stand them in good stead the next day."

Gavin also said they will look at the incident involving Diarmuid Connolly. It's a safe bet they will seek a hearing with the Central Hearings Committee. But it's also another safe bet that there will be further fire fighting when the disciplinary bodies get their hands on the tape of this game.

If Mayo are ever going to win an All-Ireland with this group, they are going to do it the hard way. That's a given after video replays of a Bernard Brogan first half point showed it to be comfortably wide. A pity we weren't to know that before joint manager Noel Connelly spoke.

Instead, the conversation surrounded a pertinent question of the treatment meted out to Aidan O'Shea. The Breaffy man suffers from his size, in that he cannot buy as free because referees tend to feel men with such physical gifts can take it.

Connelly stated: "I have said this before, I don't like going on about the way that Aido maybe gets tackled at times. Other players maybe when I say that, the smaller in stature and being marked the same way he is, would be getting frees in my mind.

"But, look, every referee goes out to do his best and I'm sure Joe did his best there overall and whoever takes the replay next week I am sure will do a good job also."

Asked if they hold the advantage now for the replay, he answered back: "The boys in the dressing room are very upbeat at the way they came back. But I don't think anyone has an advantage at this stage."

Belfast Telegraph


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