Jim Gavin saves plaudits for the Dublin and Mayo players
Dublin manager insists Mayo will be be back after crushing one-point defeat at Croke Park
Dublin manager Jim Gavin with his children Yasmin and Jude after the All-Ireland win over Mayo at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Dublin manager Jim Gavin was full of praise for his All-Ireland-winning side after their one-point, 2-12 to 1-14, win over Mayo at Croke Park this afternoon consigned their opponents to another year of heartache.
Mayo’s seventh defeat in seven finals over the last 24 years will be tough to bear, given the sacrifices they have made since defeat to Donegal last year, but Gavin insisted afterwards his men were worthy winners.
“Just delighted for the players,” said the manager. “The sacrifices and the effort they put in throughout the season was phenomenal and they got their just rewards today. They showed great heart and great resolve to never give in.
“There were a lot of injuries, so for them to keep their composure under those circumstances was admirable, and I thought they deserved it in the end.”
The Dublin boss was quick to pay tribute to a Mayo side who will, no doubt, find another defeat hard to come back from.
“Mayo have showed their character in lots of games, and for them to pick themselves up after what they went through last year and go hard at it again, with some massive performances against Tyrone Donegal and Galway along the way, there is no doubt that they will be back.
“That won’t rest easy with them but they are a very, very good side and will be back next year.”
Gavin insisted he had no concerns over the one-point deficit at the break, once again repeating his mantra that it was the score at the final whistle that mattered.
“I am always saying to the players that half-time is only a break in the play. That’s what it is. The most important thing for us is that we are up by a point or more at the end of the game when the referee blows his whistle.
“That has been the philosophy and the players accept that. Half-time is a chance to rest and regroup and have a tactical discussion. There was no big drama in the Dublin dressing-room at half-time at all.
“The game ebbs and flows and it is important for the guys to keep their composure and focus and keep going with the game-plan. Within that they always have the freedom to express themselves.
“It was a tough, manly game and both teams really battled and I am glad we came through.”
Mayo boss James Horan admitted his side had the chances to end their 62-year drought, but that Dublin were deserved winners in the end.
“We had enough ball to win the game. We just made too many basic mistakes, we turned over the ball too often and the ball wouldn’t stick inside for us and Dublin were launching counter attacks. That was basically it, nothing more than that, simple mistakes let us down,” said Horan “In the second half Dublin came with a surge and got ahead and we were chasing then. Our composure left us a little bit but we kept plugging away and kept trying as hard as we could, we just couldn’t get there.”
Horan praised the efforts his players put in and said there will be an honest appraisal of where the game was lost in the coming days.
“I’m very proud of the guys and all the work they put in, it’s just very disappointing. It was a game that we were right in there but we just couldn’t get the scores. Dublin deservedly won today. We, as we always do, have to look at what went wrong and what we could have done better.”