JIM Gavin hailed the strength of character of his Dublin team in the wake of their incredible seven-point win over Kerry last Sunday in Croke Park, eventually getting over the line 3-18 to 3-11.
The Round Tower man stayed true to his open football philosophy and was eventually rewarded in a modern classic as Kevin McManamon popped up with a late goal to finally swing the game away from the Kingdom.
Prior to that moment, the sides had been level seven times while the Dubs had trailed with time running out before Diarmuid Connolly landed a pressure free just before McManamon’s goal.
Speaking afterwards about his side’s belief, Gavin said: “There’s a great resolve and determination and willingness never to quit in this Dublin team.
“When we came down to the final quarter we had a great belief. The players themselves had great belief in their own ability.
“We knew that they were going to keep coming strong and they kept the intensity of the game up at a great level throughout the full 70 minutes.
“It’s a credit to them for doing that against a formidable Kerry side who really threw everything at us… but we’re really happy to come out with the result.
“The game ebbs and flows and we accept that with the way we play our football, the game goes up and down and we needed to keep to the game plan.”
His side shipped three first half goals to trail at half-time 3-5 to 1-9 after a 35-minute roller-coaster and despite running the gamut of emotions, Gavin said his side stayed true to their principles throughout.
“They didn’t waver and even at half-time there was no sense of panic and it was very calm and very focused. They were looking forward to the second-half challenge and thankfully we came through in the end.
“It was a great game, two teams that really believed they could win.
“Both of them showed that in the way they played football, the way we believe, and certainly Kerry believe, the way it’s meant to be played.
“It could have gone either way at the end. The Dublin camp are acutely aware of that.”
Dublin will now face Mayo on September 22 but Gavin had paid little mind to that date as of Monday morning.
“We’ve just concentrated on each game on its own merits. Our complete focus was on Kerry but we’re looking forward to it,” he said.