Gavin’s golden touch

by Karl Graham

JIM Gavin believes the composure his players show when it really matters is what sets his Dublin team apart from their opponents – allowing them to become the first team to win three All-Irelands in a row since Kerry completed the feat back in 1986.
“Composure has been the hallmark of these guys,” the Round Tower man said after watching his side record a 1-17 to 1-16 victory over Mayo. “They work so hard at their game and are very disciplined in what they do. The sacrifices they make to play Gaelic games is phenomenal.
“That composure when they went two points ahead and had the crowd behind them – there is a perception Mayo had the momentum but in the last quarter we probably outscored them four points to one.”
As Sunday’s game entered six minutes of injury time, it seemed like a repeat of last year was on the cards with the two teams going head to head once again two weeks later. However, when Diarmuid Connolly drew a foul from Chris Barrett, Dean Rock stepped up to banish the memories of a missed free in April’s league final against Kerry.
Dublin showed the knack of winning that has become so ingrained into the players to win by the narrowest of margins.
“Recent Dublin [versus] Mayo games have been nip and tuck so I don’t think it was a surprise to our players that there was very little in it going into the last few minutes. I thought our boys showed good composure when the game was there to be won.
“That shows how present the Dublin players were in the game. For them to turn it around and finish so strongly was satisfying,” said Gavin.
Dublin and Mayo looked a considerable step ahead of everyone else in the country this year but Gavin believes there is very little between many of the big teams and it inevitably comes down to the work put in by the layers throughout the year.
“One of the biggest strengths of this squad is their attitude and what they bring to the Dublin team from their clubs.
“In terms of the future, there are so many good teams out there. If you put any of the top teams head to head in championship football in an All-Ireland final there is not going to be much in it.
“That is what we have experienced over the last few years. All this is down to the hard work, dedication and sacrifice that the players have put in over the last number of years and that is what they are going to have to do again.”

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