Jim Gavin says Dublin not distracted by investigation of McBrearty’s claim

Dublin boss backs Páraic Duffy’s view that disciplinary process remains satisfactory

Dublin manager Jim Gavin at a press conference ahead of Sunday’s league final against Tyrone. Photograph: Inpho

Dublin manager Jim Gavin at a press conference ahead of Sunday’s league final against Tyrone. Photograph: Inpho

 

“I’m a Gael and what means most to me is what the Gaelic Athletic Association does and the whole bedrock of the association was founded on volunteerism.”

After 28 minutes and over 3,000 words, Dublin manager Jim Gavin finally uttered that relatively juicy quote at yesterday’s press conference ahead of Sunday’s league final against Tyrone.

It’s a well-worn reporter’s trick; leave the question that is bound to antagonise until the fag end of the session.

Some context is needed. In Ballybofey on April 7th the previous two All-Ireland champions were slugging it out when an incident may or may not have occurred.

Donegal footballer Paddy McBrearty claims he was bitten. An investigation followed with the Central Competitions Control Committee subsequently recommending, on April 17th, a three-match suspension for a Dublin player who may or may not have appeared before the Central Hearings Committee last night.

The player involved is not the issue, rather the time lapse in dealing with the situation (it certainly didn’t help the accused that Luis Suarez decided to chomp down on Branislav Ivanovic’s arm last Sunday and that the, albeit professional, English FA had the case heard and decreed upon the Uruguayan within four days).

Disciplinary structures
The suggestion of introducing a citing commissioner, similar to rugby, prompted GAA director general Páraic Duffy to this week publicly refuse to compare the association’s disciplinary structures with professional sporting bodies. Yesterday, when queried about the fact almost three weeks have elapsed since the alleged incident without a hearing (despite the recommended CCCC ban), Gavin rowed in behind Duffy’s stance.

“The big thing with the Gaelic Athletic Association is that we’re all volunteers, from most of the administrators to the players and the coaching and managerial staff,” said Gavin. “So they are giving freely of their time for the process, so that just takes as long as it takes.

“Whatever about other sporting organisations that are professional, the way they do their business is of no real concern of mine.

“I’m a Gael,” Jim Gavin proudly reminded the room, “and what means most to me is what the Gaelic Athletic Association does and the whole bedrock of the association was founded on volunteerism.

“It has been in the past and it always will be, and as I said I concur with the director general’s statement that he’s satisfied with the process and so am I.”

More news on that ongoing disciplinary process is expected today.

Gavin will undoubtedly be asked about the issue once again after Sunday’s National League final but he refused to comment on it yesterday, except when dismissing the notion that it has been a distraction for his players.

“Within Dublin, there are lots of distractions and as a player I would have been acutely aware of all the distractions that there are. Players do get accustomed to just getting inside the tent and focusing on the game.”

No clue
That was the height of yesterday’s 8am gathering, Gavin giving no clue to the make-up of his team. The strong silent type approach.

Tyrone, naturally, came up in conversation. “Mickey Harte feels numbers on jerseys are irrelevant, is that your philosophy as well?”

“It is, yeah. If I had my way, I’d list the team alphabetically but I think you might be disappointed.”

“It’s a game of football. In our sessions, there are specific things that defenders and forwards will do. But, generally, they all practise their score-taking in a session. I certainly believe that players who play in the full back line should be as confident in taking a score as those in the forward division.”

Gavin was asked to elaborate on his decision to give International Rules captain, Stephen Cluxton, the Dublin armband.

“When Stephen joined the squad [IN 2001]I would have been still on it. . . I was very impressed with his attitude even then as a young guy.

“I was very impressed with how he handled himself as a captain of the compromise rules team. He sets very high standards for himself, both on and off the field, and he has continued to do that. That’s what I want of a captain.”

And that’s what he has.