Gavin satisfied with Dublin performance
By Michael Devlin
Jim Gavin says that while there were creases to iron out of Dublin’s performance, the work done on the training ground ultimately shone through in their Leinster SFC semi-final victory over Kildare in Croke Park yesterday.
Out of Dublin’s 0-26 total, 22 points came from open play, with seven of those coming from Paul Mannion and five from Cormac Costello. Other starting forwards - Ciaran Kilkenny, Con O’Callaghan and Brian Howard - registered seven points between them.
“There would be aspects of that performance that we’d be satisfied with,” said Gavin after the game. “We do a lot of work on the training field practising the skills of the game, and that traditional, open Dublin style of football, an attacking based style of football. There were some very good scores from open play which was great to see.
“Interspersed with some loose passages, the ball not going to the Dublin man, that wouldn’t be good enough for the next game. But I suppose from our perspective, it was a Leinster semi-final, we wanted to get into the game to get into a final and have another opportunity to represent Dublin, and that’s what we’ve got.”
The game also marked Stephen Cluxton’s 100th Senior Championship appearance, who holds the all-time record after making his Dublin senior debut back in 2001. Gavin praised his goalkeeper for his long-standing service in the Dublin jersey, adding that the significance of the occasion was never going to faze the Parnells’ man on the lead-up to today’s game.
“Talking to Stephen, he wouldn’t even be thinking of that. His application and preparation for the game was again right on the money. I suppose it shows his dedication and commitment to Gaelic games, first and foremost with his club Parnells and by extension, Dublin GAA.
“He sets a great example for all the players in terms of his relentless pursuit of trying to be the best he can be both on and off the field.”
Dublin are now on course for their ninth consecutive Leinster title, with traditional rivals Meath awaiting them in the decider in two weeks’ time.
“Since the Louth game my focus was on learning as much about that game as possible and preparing for Kildare,” said Gavin. “I haven’t seen anything of Meath this year, bar the time we played in the Sean Cox charity game before Christmas. They were flying then up in Navan, and obviously they’ve had a good league campaign to get up to division one. It’s a fair achievement as Division Two is very competitive.
“We’ll have a look at Meath over the next couple of days. I suppose any Dublin-Meath game, they’re always close and intense, and we look forward to a big game on the 23rd.”