Friday 30 September 2016

Jim Gavin reveals Diarmuid Connolly was present for 'good part' of lengthy DRA hearing

Published 05/09/2015 | 20:30

Diarmuid Connolly and Kevin McManamon, Dublin celebrate at the end of the game. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final Replay, Dublin v Mayo. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray Ryan / SPORTSFILE
Diarmuid Connolly and Kevin McManamon, Dublin celebrate at the end of the game. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final Replay, Dublin v Mayo. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Ray Ryan / SPORTSFILE

Dublin manager Jim Gavin has revealed that he had no hesitation in starting Diarmuid Connolly against Mayo despite the tumultuous week the St Vincent’s man endured.

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Gavin confirmed that Connolly was present for a “good part” of the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA) hearing that started at 7.30pm on Friday and ran until 2.30am on Saturday morning to round off a week of late night appeals.

Having been sent off in the drawn game, Connolly was eventually cleared to line out against Mayo and played for 68 minutes before being replaced.

And Gavin defended the decision to pursue the case to the highest authority.

“We just engaged with the process, it’s there for us, it’s there for any team to use and that’s what we did,” he said.

“We took advice from the administrators of the Dublin County Board and they supported us all the way.

The Dublin boss refused to criticise the process that saw one of his star performers granted a reprieve just hours before the game was due to start.

“I thought the (DRA) were very facilitating. Obviously the time was compressing coming up to the game and I thought anybody we engaged in the process made themselves available for late hours. We can only be grateful for that.”

And he insisted the furore had minimal impact on his side’s preparations.

“I’d say of all the county teams the Dublin players are used to a lot of external stuff going on. So they are quite accustomed to those external distractions and they are quite good at getting into a performance bubble and blocking it out.

“We actually enjoyed this week, we had good fun getting ready for this game and I think the way they played they showed that.”

Dublin produced a gutsy display that saw them come from four points down to set up another All-Ireland final clash with defending champions Kerry.

“I haven’t seen much of them,” Gavin said. “We played them back in the spring on a miserable day in Killarney. They looked very serious that day. They played with great intent.

“We’ve a bit of catching up to do. I know their management team were here for the Leinster final, the league final, the last two games, so they’ve got a good look at us.

“(They are) a team full of stars, not only on the starting 15 but also on the bench as well. And there’s an expectation that they are going to win it back to back. So it’s all uphill for us.

“We’ve had a really enjoyable summer. We had great fun this week getting ready for the game and we’ll do likewise in two weeks’ time. We’ll just try and be the best we can be.”

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