Dublin boss Gavin calls for two referees to officiate at big games
In victory, manager queries the free count of 32-12 in Mayo’s favour in the final
Dublin manager Jim Gavin shakes hands with Mayo manager James Horan after the final at Croke Park. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
There are firm hands on the tiller and then there’s Jim Gavin’s guiding lámh.
In the immediate aftermath of Dublin’s 24th All-Ireland football title the manager has called on the GAA to introduce a second referee. The rationale being that the modern game is too “fast and furious” for one decision-maker when it comes to indiscipline.
Joe McQuillan’s free count of 32-12, in Mayo’s favour, from Sunday’s game was so lopsided that it prompted Gavin to state there has been a repetitive bias against Dublin in 2013.
“When you get the analysis back after every game you have to look at it,” said Gavin yesterday in the Gibson Hotel. “We look at every free we give away and see why did we give it away and how can we try to improve.
“It’s probably on the opposite side of the pitch where Bernard Brogan found it difficult to buy a free all season. We’ve had very few frees all season within the scoring zone, for whatever reason I don’t know.”
The counter-argument was to note the actions of Dublin players in the closing minutes of Sunday’s final when Ger Brennan, Kevin McManamon and Darren Daly were shown yellow cards for fouls similar to that which saw Tyrone’s Seán Cavanagh castigated after this summer’s All-Ireland quarter-final against Monaghan.
The introduction of a black card in 2014 will see players sent off, yet replaced by a substitute, for similar indiscretions.
“That was the frustration of the Dublin players boiling through and coming to the surface,” Gavin responded. “We spoke at half-time about the importance of keeping their discipline. They’re quite good at that but they were frustrated that a lot of the decisions seemed to be going against them.
“Rory O’Carroll was a case in point. I saw it again last night and it looked a good shoulder on shoulder tackle. The Mayo players didn’t seem to make a big deal of it, they played on but then the referee blew for a free and gave him a yellow card. That was a bit strange.”
Gavin said the issue was only being highlighted now that the season has ended and Dublin are victorious.
“In defeat it’s not the place to be saying it so we were never going to bring it up before this unless we were in a position where we could mention it. I know the referees and Pat McEnaney is doing outstanding work with the referees committee and I know the supervisors are working hard with referees, not just as an assessor but to try and improve them so it’s a work in progress.
“I still think we should have two referees on the pitch. When you see the quality of Cormac Reilly there on the sideline . . . I know he can bring the referee’s attention to things but why can’t he referee the game as well in real time? It doesn’t make sense. We’ve got such quality referees, to leave one man in there on his own, it’s a big ask on anybody, especially with the way the game is gone so fast and furious.”
He added: “All that pulling players down, next year hopefully those players will see the line.”
Another point made by Gavin yesterday was that opposing management teams already have an advantage on Dublin with regards to preparation for 2014.
In 1995, when he was part of the All-Ireland winning team, Dublin only had a fortnight before returning to league action.
The 2013 panel has less than a week to celebrate.
“I would say that by this weekend the clubs will come calling. I would say that they will get five days.
“We spoke about it in the quiet time in the dressing room afterwards that they need to go back and play well for their clubs. That is where they grew up and that is what made them the players that they are so we would expect them to put in big performances for their clubs over the next couple of weeks. It is payback time now for the clubs.”
Dublin’s 20-year-old centre forward Ciarán Kilkenny immediately switches codes with Castleknock.
“I’ve a club hurling game next weekend, Junior championship quarter-final against Cuala, and have to play it and then we have St Pats, Donabate the week after in the football so I will be busy enough,” said Kilkenny, who noted his former AFL club Hawthorn are in the Grand Final this weekend.
“I’d firmly rather be here now winning an All-Ireland with the Dublin lads.”
Gavin expects no retirements, with a fully fit Alan Brogan to fight for a place, as they attempt to emulate only Kerry in modern times by retaining Sam Maguire.
“There’s a lot of distractions after winning and certainly teams, you’re exposing all your tactical game plans in your winning season and if you’re not prepared to evolve and to move on then teams around you will evolve and move on.
“That’s the challenge now for this group of players and management team, to try and bring it to a new level.”