Sport Gaelic Football

Saturday 30 August 2014

James Horan 'amazed' at Gavin claim

Mayo boss raps Dubs' cynicism and mocks '16th man' comment

Colm Keys and Ruaidhri O'Connor

Published 24/09/2013 | 05:00

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James Horan is surprised by some of the comments made by Jim Gavin
James Horan is surprised by some of the comments made by Jim Gavin

James Horan has expressed amazement at his opposite number Jim Gavin's comments that Dublin faced a '16th man' in referee Joe McQuillan during Sunday's All-Ireland final win.

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The Mayo manager also called on Gavin to reflect on his pre-All Ireland final comments that he would "step back" from his job if his team were involved in cynical play.

Dublin were guilty of hauling down Mayo players on a series of occasions during the last 10 minutes of their one-point win at Croke Park and have been criticised for their cynical streak as they closed out the game with just 13 fully operational players.

But Gavin has denied that his team were cynical, claiming that the fouls came from their frustration at what he described as a "very disappointing" refereeing display.

Horan was taken aback by his opposite number's response, saying: "I find that amazing. I find that absolutely amazing if that was the comment.

"I know Jim made another interesting comment – that he'd walk away if his team were cynical, so maybe that's another comment Jim should look at.

"What was the free count? And what were Dublin saying after the semi-final last year? Were they shouting up and down about it? asked Horan, who qualified that Dublin were worthy All-Ireland champions.

Prior to the All-Ireland final, Gavin reiterated his principled approach to fouling by his players. "I would be loath to think that if anyone said this Dublin team is cynical, you know, I'd take a step back if that was the case. I certainly wouldn't tolerate it from them and they know that as well," he said, comments similar to what he has consistently said since taking over the job.

The National Referees Committee are also believed to be taken aback by Gavin's comments that Dublin have been fighting against an imbalance in the number of frees being awarded against them and will review the games before addressing the matter.

According to Irish Independent statistics, the free count in Dublin's six championship games were 19-27 (Dublin first) against Westmeath, 24-18 against Kildare, 19-20 against Meath, 16-16 against Cork, 20-21 against Kerry and 12-32 against Mayo.

Gavin said he was only ever going to raise the issue of the perceived imbalance from a winning platform and has advocated the deployment of a second referee in the game.

"In defeat it's not the place to be saying it so we were never going to bring it up before this unless we were in a position where we could mention it," he said.

"I know the referees, and Pat McEnaney is doing outstanding work with the referees' committee and I know the supervisors are working hard with referees, not just as an assessor but to try and improve them so it's a work in progress.

"I still think we should have two referees on the pitch. When you see the quality of Cormac Reilly there on the sideline, why shouldn't he be able to... I know he can bring the referee's attention to things but why can't he referee the game as well in real time?"

"It doesn't make sense. We've got such quality referees, to leave one man in there on his own, it's a tough ask."

Dublin's Darren Daly and Kevin McManamon were yellow-carded late on but Gavin insisted yesterday that they fouled out of "frustration" with the referee.

"That was the frustration of the Dublin players boiling through and coming to the surface," he said.

"We spoke at half-time about the importance of keeping their discipline. They're quite good at that but they were frustrated that a lot of decisions seemed to be going against them.

"Rory O'Carroll was a case in point. I saw it again (on Sunday) and it looked a good shoulder-on-shoulder tackle. The Mayo players didn't seem to make a big deal of it; they played on, but then the referee blew for a free and gave him a yellow card. That was a bit strange."

Gavin said it was the correct call by referee Joe McQuillan to bring the ball forward when Bernard Brogan tried to slow down the taking of a Mayo free late in the game and he looked forward to players who drag down opponents being removed by the black card in 2014.

"Bernard was messing with the ball and the ball was rightly brought up and they got a free from it. We've always said to the players that if there's any back-chat to referees, bring the ball up, any of that messing bring the ball up.

"We were rightly punished by that indiscipline by (Brogan) when he tapped the ball away and the ball was moved up. We needed to see more of that. All that pulling players down, next year hopefully those players will see the line."

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