Saturday 10 December 2016

Mayo have edge in 'momentum' - Gavin

Published 19/08/2015 | 02:30

Dublin manager Jim Gavin thinks Mayo might have the edge in regards to 'momentum'
Dublin manager Jim Gavin thinks Mayo might have the edge in regards to 'momentum'

Dublin manager Jim Gavin believes Mayo have an edge on his side in terms of "momentum" going into their All-Ireland semi-final on Sunday week.

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Gavin insists his outfit are in good shape but that having beaten last year's All-Ireland finalists Donegal and played more recently than the Dubs, the Connacht side have an edge.

And he knows his side must come out firing from the first whistle.

"Every team we play we give the utmost respect," said the Dublin manager at the launch of AIG's new offer of up to 47pc off home insurance.

"Fermanagh came out and fronted up and played attacking football and really went at it. There was no diving, no cynical play from them - that was a big test for us.

"And they showed us in the last ten minutes when they kept at it that they punished us for a couple of lapses of concentration.

"There's no doubt Mayo do have the momentum," he continued. "They have played more recently than us against a very good Donegal side and they will carry that into the game.

"And it is up to us to match it early on in the game."

And while Fermanagh were the first team to come back at Dublin in the final quarter this summer, Gavin believes they have enough experience garnered at this stage to know what is required.

And despite Dublin's facile win against Mayo when the sides met in the league earlier this year, he is expecting something more along the lines of the 2013 All-Ireland final when Dublin ground out a one-point win.

"Sometimes games can peter out but we had a very good National League campaign and we learned a lot from it.

"And players learned a lot from that and even though it's a while ago that will stand us in good stead.

"I remember playing Mayo in Castlebar and that was a cracking game, both teams went hard at it that day. We can expect something similar on Sunday."

The winners of their game with Mayo will face whoever emerges on top from Sunday's showdown between Kerry and Tyrone.

Off-field matters have dominated the build-up to that game and with Tiernan McCann set to go before the Central Hearings Committee last night, Gavin expects the Tyrone youngster to be available to play this weekend.

"I don't think (diving) is an epidemic, no. I think the officials, I can see the standards increasing every year with them. From players and from managers and supporters and people who follow the game, they just want consistency and I think we're getting there.

"Referees are volunteers like the rest of us so they're doing their very best and that's all we ask them to do.

"The player made a mistake, I'm sure he realises that as well and I'm sure he'll play against Kerry."

Gavin has consistently stated his preference for a sin bin rule to be introduced but believes the black card is having some influence on how players play the game.

"I would have been always in favour of the sin bin but it didn't get there," he said.

"To have a rule which curbs players... it was purposely brought in for the body collisions, trips and that part of our game is beginning to be eradicated.

"So I think we're seeing less and less of it and it's going in the right direction."

Irish Independent

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