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We came up with answers on a day of tough questions: Gavin

 

By Declan Bogue

Here's one for you.

Yesterday in Croke Park, Dublin won their first three-in-a-row since they put three All-Irelands together in the space of 16 months during the 1920’s.

The All-Ireland finals of 1921, 1922 and 1923 were played in June and October of 1923, while the 1923 final was ran off on September 28th, 1924. Some political situation or other caused the delay.

In the present era, Dublin can now be considered alongside the two Kerry teams of Mick O’Dwyer that managed the same feat. Given what it takes to climb to the summit in this age, others could lay claim on their behalf to being the finest ever.

Enormous credit for this has to go to the manager, Jim Gavin. His obsession with keeping everything process-orientated permeates into every element of his management, and for those in the media, they have to get used to terse replies that reveal nothing of what goes on inside a remorseless winning machine.

“We always go after a performance piece, we always try to perform. You’ll never get that right in the game, you need to take these blows, they either go for you or against you, so we are always trying to do the right thing,” he said when asked if winning was the only thing that concerns them.

“Do we do the right thing always? Absolutely not, we don’t get it right all the time but once the boys put that jersey on they are playing for Dublin as best as they can in the best way.”

This was easily the toughest test they came up against all year. Instead of reflecting on an evening of blood and thunder and offering some colour to proceedings, he stripped it all back to cold February evenings down in venues such as, say, Clones.

“Not to be flippant,” said Gavin, “but we do treat every game on its merits and in equal measure. I thought some of the questions that were asked of us in the National Football League were very tough and in the National League final in particular, Kerry asked us a lot of tough questions there.

“And again today Mayo asked us a lot of tough questions.

“I thought the boys had most of the answers for it, but again you look back at 16, 15, 14, 13 since we’ve been on the journey with this group of players and we’ve always been asked really tough questions.”

And the significance of the three in a row?

He brings us back even further, to foundered days on Louth terracing.

“My focus and the management team’s focus was on 2017. What’s gone on in the past is in the past. We never reference it — never.

“We’re just delighted for the great support base we’ve had in Dublin. Got to see the O’Byrne Cup games, the back end of them, and fantastic support in Drogheda in January. Great support on our travels in the National League.

“Great support today when we needed it. Privileged to be in a county that has such a following for Gaelic games.”

Great manager. Great team.

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