Jim Gavin: ‘We stuck true to our values – that saw us home in the end’

Dublin manager praises team’s control in All-Ireland football semi-final win over Kerry

Jim Gavin: “We are very much, in some respects, open and vulnerable. That is very much part of our game plan. We accept against a team like Kerry they are going to score against you. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Jim Gavin: “We are very much, in some respects, open and vulnerable. That is very much part of our game plan. We accept against a team like Kerry they are going to score against you. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Ask all you like, but Jim Gavin’s emotions are his own and not for sharing. Aliens peering in on the Dublin press conference would have presumed a dismal day at Croke Park. The sombre mood, of course, was business as usual for Gavin, despite this being a performance to file alongside their greatest.

Polite to a fault, Gavin drives one gear only: rigid formality, shelving each performance as a separate entity that must be instantly forgotten.

You look pleased. Well, almost pleased. “Pleased in the performance?”

Yes. You, yourself, satisfaction?

“For them to demonstrate that level of control, for me that is the most satisfying thing. To play against such a great team as Kerry, for them to ask so many, many questions of the team and to demonstrate that level of control for the full duration of the game, that’s what is the satisfying thing from the management’s perspective.”

Compare it to 2013’s semi-final against Kerry. “I have moved on from that game, I’ve never looked back on it.”

Be the best they can

Come on, come on. “How the team performed? The job of the management group is to get these players to be the best they can be, it’s as simple as that. Very satisfied with that level of control but all it is is a semi-final.”

What of the interval? “Half- time is just a break in play. What counts is when the referee blows his final whistle.”

On this being the time of their lives? “There is no team that is the best in the country.”

Paul Geaney laying hands on Stephen Cluxton’s kick-out leading to Darran O’Sullivan’s goal? “These things happen.”

“We are very much, in some respects, open and vulnerable. That is very much part of our game plan. We accept against a team like Kerry they are going to score against you.

“But we stuck true to our values. That saw us home in the end.”

Kerry outscored Dublin 2-4 to nothing in 10 minutes before half-time. Did their approach surprise you? “No.”

Kevin McManamon’s late shoulder on Peter Crowley left Éamonn Fitzmaurice unquotable and Kerry supporters disgusted, even seeking out referee David Gough: “That’s what we want to see, physicality, shoulder to shoulder.”

What about Mayo’s semi-final victory over Tipperary? “Didn’t see it. Our focus was on the Kerry challenge. We have absolutely no business to be looking at any other game other than the opposition for today.

“And we still won’t look at them. We will do our wash up of this game, take what we can from it, and in a couple of days time focus on them. See what we need to do to get a performance in 21 days’ time.

“We have never anchored ourselves to the past. We won’t be starting now.”

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