Jim Gavin finds clouds to obscure the silver lining
Inconsistency still a concern for the manager despite second-half dismantling of emerging Cork
Dublin manager Jim Gavin. “You know for the full 70 minutes we were very inconsistent, obviously being that amount of points down. That’s something which we’re still searching for from the National League.” Photo:Cathal Noonan/Inpho
It’s important for a winning manager not to appear too pleased after matches and especially a league semi-final. For everything that goes well there has to be something that requires urgent attention. No-one wants no room for improvement in mid-April.
Jim Gavin has just seen his team scorch the earth in a second half which yielded a 17-point turnaround, as good a performance as they have given this year and revenge for one of the two defeats sustained during the league.
One match away from retaining the league title and reasserting their dominion going into the championship, there has to be a cloud on the blue horizon and when the turnaround had starting point of minus-10 that’s something to be going on with.
“You know for the full 70 minutes we were very inconsistent,” said the Dublin manager, “obviously being that amount of points down. That’s something which we’re still searching for from the National League; you know we haven’t got that consistency of performance.
“Just a lack of concentration in a couple of areas against a quality side like Cork, they’re going to punish you if there’s any lapses in that regard. As I said, that inconsistency is an area that we really need to work on now.”
But to get back to the silver lining: the character and resolution demonstrated?
“You know they demonstrate it day in, day out whenever we are with them and we would have seen that mental resolve last year as well in a lot of the games, but it’s pleasing to see it’s still there and they can tap into it.”
It’s been a campaign in which the All-Ireland team from last September has yet to reappear fully but after yesterday just centre back Ger Brennan remains unseen after a successful club campaign and injury.
The second-last to appear was Bernard Brogan, sprung for the final 20 minutes to reel off five points – two from play.
“He has trained very hard, off-site,” said his manager. “The athletic team have done marvellous work with him and credit to the player himself, he has been very determined and has shown great focus over the last number of months since he has come back from his surgery. His form out there is a reflection of the hard work he has put in.”
Gavin’s Cork counterpart Brian Cuthbert was juggling satisfaction at the first half in which they had cut Dublin to ribbons with resignation at the way they found their opponents’ comeback so irresistible.
“I thought we played very, very well in the first half. Everything we set out to do seemed to be working and going in at half-time we seemed to be in a very good place. The scoreline would have suggested the same but it was more than that; I felt we were controlling the tempo of the game, which is very important against Dublin.
“And then in the second half, I thought we were still in control. Dublin came out with a bit of renewed energy; the pressure was off them, really.
“I don’t think there’s any other team that has the experience that Dublin have there. You could see when the game was in the melting pot their class, experienced players stood up and were counted.
“At the same time, Dublin had the facility to bring on Bernard Brogan, Eoghan O’Gara. I don’t think any of the teams we’ve played so far in the league, if we were up 10 points, that would have happened.”
“If you try to hold on against very good teams, All-Ireland champions, the league champions, you end up with what happened. Our intention was to go out and win the second half by as much as we won the first. But we just could not gain control of the football.”