Final drumbeat build-up may grow louder but Jim Gavin’s values still call the tune
Manager’s core philosophies have guided Dublin through his first year in charge
“Certainly all the teams we’ve been involved in always buy into that philosophy,” Gavin says. “It is a 30-man game and those that don’t get the privilege to take to the field, they’re probably more important to me. I’d look to them more than the guys that start probably. They set the agenda.
“If there was [resentment], I would expect those players to walk away. I wouldn’t have them involved. If those players have that attitude, I certainly wouldn’t want them around.
“I would openly say to them, if they’re not enjoying their football, we’re not doing the right thing as coaches or they just haven’t bought into the ethos that we’re trying to create.
“But there isn’t a hint of that. There’s a great esprit de corps. A great bond. And a great belief.”
In the end, he is trusting that belief to sustain them through until Sunday evening. He’s made a point all year of giving his players the day before matches off to do with what they please and that will hold for the final.
Dublin’s players won’t be congregating on Saturday, they’ll be encouraged to relax and switch off. Gavin preaches freedom on the pitch and the idea of bolting them all up in a hotel when they haven’t done so all year wouldn’t really chime with that.
Come game time, there will be plans for everything but once the whistle goes there isn’t a lot he can do. He’s okay with that. Or at least resigned to it. Mayo will throw at them what they’ll throw at them – his players are the ones who need to react accordingly.
“It’s for ourselves – we need to be adaptable and flexible. And that’s one of the key things we would say to the guys – that they would be able to move from different game plans we have, either running the ball or kicking the ball.
“That’s one of their key strengths. A lot of the time they will figure it out. Not only are they naturally talented, their game intelligence is very high as well. That’s maybe from the underage structures they came up with.
“They can figure a lot of that out themselves without us having to say they need to switch to a particular tactic.”