Thursday 20 October 2016

Dublin will stick to their core principles, vows Gavin

Published 25/08/2015 | 02:30

The Dublin manager Jim Gavin during a press conference
The Dublin manager Jim Gavin during a press conference

Mayo and Dublin have been nose to nose for years now.

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In their last two championship games, a single score decided both games. Mayo won by three points in the 2012 All-Ireland semi-final. A little over 12 months later Dublin came out on top by the minimum in the final.

Jim Gavin's press briefing can be famously guarded but when he says he's expecting the same this weekend, it's clear he means it.

He only needs to go back to the 2013 decider for a reminder. Dublin fell over the line that day after Mayo had charged at them relentlessly.

By the end, Gavin's team had a passenger in Eoghan O'Gara who had torn a hamstring and could barely move. Rory O'Carroll picked up a heavy blow to the head, as did Johnny Cooper and Philly McMahon. Mayo had walking wounded too as both teams went all out to secure Sam Maguire.

Sunday is likely to be similarly attritional.

"It (was) an All-Ireland final," Gavin recalled. "And I'd expect that when you come down to the last couple of minutes of a season. Next Sunday will be no different."

Dublin go in as slight favourites even though Gavin admits that Mayo have a superior momentum coming off the back of their win over top-class opposition in Donegal. Dublin's last action was a bizarre few minutes against Fermanagh when Seamus Quigley pushed Stephen Cluxton over the line for a goal before Dublin shot themselves in the foot with a rare defensive mix-up that led to another green flag.

Privately, Dublin were unhappy with the awarding of some frees late in that game. Fermanagh were awarded more than three times the amount of frees Dublin got in that game, winning 22 frees to Dublin's seven.

In fact, the Dubs have only been awarded more frees than their opponents once across both league and championship, with that coming in the league final win over Cork.

Mayo took the unusual step of deploying Barry Moran as a sweeper to negate Michael Murphy's influence on the edge of the square against Donegal but Gavin expects a largely orthodox set-up from both teams on Sunday.

"Yeah we'd have confidence in our backs. We play a particular brand of football and we wouldn't stray too far from that philosophy," Gavin stressed

"We base our core principles on attacking football and a very traditional style and we won't stray too far from that."

Irish Independent

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