Gavin wary of pro ballers

by Dave Donnelly

ROUND Tower’s man Jim Gavin reckons the professional football experience in Kildare’s ranks could give the challengers an edge during Sunday’s Leinster Championship final at Croke Park.
The Dubs have the last six Leinster Championships in a row, stretching back to 2011, but they face reinvigorated opposition in the form of Cian O’Neill’s perennial semi-finalists.
Forward Paddy Brophy returned to the panel in May following three years playing Aussie Rules in Perth with the West Coast Eagles while ex-Port Adelaide man Danny Flynn is finally fit again.
Midfielder Kevin Feely spent three years playing professional soccer in England with Charlton Athletic and Newport County after leaving Bohemians before returning in 2015.
And the Dublin manager – who spent many years serving in the air force around Kildare – believes their experience added to heightened expectation among lilywhite fans will make for an intriguing contest.
“They’ve got three players returning from professional football. Kevin Feely looks very good in midfield,” Gavin said on Wednesday.
“He’s scored, I think, 23 points already in the year so far. With Tommy Moolick there looks to be a very good combination there.
“Danny Flynn at full forward is very promising, 1-3 or 1-4 over the two games, and Brophy we’ve met before.
“We’ve seen him in 2013 and he’s back from the AFL as well. Those two lads from Australia bring back a lot of experience.
“Ollie Lyons seems to have as much life in his legs as he had in the past, continuously foraging forward, so I think we’re up against a big challenge on Sunday.”
Gavin refused to be drawn on what exactly Diarmuid Connolly is and isn’t allowed to do while serving a 12-game ban for laying his hands on a linesman in the quarter-final with Carlow.
He confirmed Connolly has been put on a program to keep him ticking over before his potential return before the end of the All-Ireland Championship, should Dublin make it that far.
Gavin expressed no regrets over his refusal to speak to give one-to-one interviews with broadcasters following the semi-final win over Westmeath last month.
He did so in protest against what he felt were unfair remarks that disparaged Connolly’s character by TV analysts on the Sunday Game and elsewhere.
“I hope the lessons have been learnt and we can move on. If I believe a player is being disrespected, and Croke Park don’t step in and protect the player and his good name, I have no option but to react as I did.
“Unlike other sports, our boys have to go out – intercounty players have to go out – on Monday morning and seek out a living.”

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