Understated Gavin adds to Dubs’ legend status

by Karl Graham

JIM GAVIN made some big changes to his team as Dublin defeated Mayo by a point in the All-Ireland SFC final at the second time of asking, delivering the biggest title for a third time during his tenure as manager.
His side just about held Mayo at bay by a single point with his substitutions making a key impact with Cormac Costello and Bernard Brogan combining for four points.
The Round Tower’s man’s reaction was typically understated in the aftermath of the victory.
“They’re all tough. Look back to last year and the game against Kerry, the previous year Kerry against Donegal, and 2013 for us against Mayo. They’re all very tough and unique so to win one is a very, very hard thing to do.”
When asked if a Brian Cody style reign at the pinnacle of the Dublin game was something he was thinking about, Gavin was giving little away.
“No not at all. Over the coming weeks we’ll sit down with the county board and see if they are happy with what myself and my management team are doing for Dublin football and if our vision is in line with the board’s. Once that is squared away, we’ll see if we have the energy for it.”
In a game that held all the same tension and talking points of its predecessor, it was Dublin who edged it 1-15 to 1-14 to secure the first All-Ireland double in the county’s history.
Star forward Bernard Brogan paid the price for an ineffective performance in the first game, while David Byrne and Michael Darragh Macauley also had to make do with seats on the bench.
Dublin had clearly learned from their slow start in the first game and started this one with much more intensity to race into a four-point lead within the first ten minutes.
Mayo were soon level after a four-point salvo of their own, and after trading points they struck the first goal of the game in the 18th minute.
A minute later and more scrutiny was shone on the divisive black card rule after Jonny Cooper was given an early bath for grabbing the ankles of Donal Vaughan.
Lee Keegan then saw black for a similar offence on Diarmuid Connolly just before half-time.
Probably the biggest moment came early in the second-half when Mayo keeper Rob Hennelly fumbled a Paul Flynn delivery into the hands of Paddy Andrews before fouling the forward as he went for goal.
Hennelly was black carded and Connolly stepped up to finish clinically past replacement keeper David Clarke. Dublin would stay just ahead until deep into injury time when Cillian O’Connor had the chance to force extra time from a tricky free.
It drifted wide and sparked jubilant Dublin celebrations.

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