Saturday 22 October 2016

Gavin braced for 'big challenge' from Kildare

Published 24/06/2015 | 02:30

Gavin: Expecting tough challenge
Gavin: Expecting tough challenge

Two consecutive double-digit wins over Kildare should breathe confidence into every Dublin supporter but Jim Gavin's assessment that Sunday's Leinster SFC semi-final against their neighbours will be a "big challenge" tells you everything you need to know about the mindset within the dressing room.

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The combined winning margin of Dublin's victories over the Lilywhites is a staggering 26 points and although they will be expected to rack up another big score, Gavin isn't leaving any room for complacency amongst his players.

On the back of Kildare's victories over Laois, Gavin is adamant that the extra games they have played will be an advantage over his side.

"I've been impressed, they'll have that advantage of us, two tough championship games regardless of who it's against or where it was played," he said. "To have that momentum is invaluable coming into a championship game and three of the quarters over the two games was very tight.

"I think in both games when they were under a lot of pressure, they showed a lot of experience and got a lot of bodies behind the ball.

"They dug the result out particularly for the first game. They're very fit, a very well conditioned team, and it's going to be a big challenge for us."

Whether or not Gavin believes, deep down, that Kildare will actually pose a threat to his side will never be known but the bookies certainly don't agree with him as they make the Dubs hot favourites and -11 points on the handicap.

Another double-digit victory would put a halt to Kildare's progress this summer but Gavin insisted that he will not look back on the previous meetings between the two teams.

"I haven't even referenced it. If you asked me what the scores were in the games, I wouldn't know, genuinely," he stressed.

"Those games are kind of in the past for both teams. Kildare have that momentum, they'll feel like they're in a very good position.

"They've got a lot of pedigree, they're one of our closest neighbours so we'd know their club football very well. There's a lot of strength in depth in that Kildare team despite the players that have left for overseas games.

"I think they showed it in those (Laois) games just to hang in. That's a skill in itself. It'll be a different challenge," Gavin added.

The Lilywhites may indeed pose a different challenge but Gavin's approach will remain the same in that he will stay focused on his own side and how they go about their game plan.

Dublin will have Denis Bastick, Rory O'Carroll and Cian O'Sullivan back into contention for selection which will only heighten the scale of the task that lies ahead for Kildare.

"First and foremost, we'd go after our game plan, that's the majority of our work," Gavin admitted.

"We'd always pay due attention and respect to the opposition, in accordance with how we play, that's always the way.

"Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But within the way we play, we need to be adaptable and have different systems. That's always been our core philosophy.

"We got a lot from the league and it gives us various game plans we can use at various times of the seasons depending on the strategies teams choose to play against us."

Irish Independent

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