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Daly is impressed by boss' 'back-to-basics' approach


Dublin's Darren Daly. Picture: Barry Cregg/SPORTSFILE

Dublin's Darren Daly. Picture: Barry Cregg/SPORTSFILE

Dublin's Darren Daly. Picture: Barry Cregg/SPORTSFILE

IF you were to put Jim Gavin's public thoughts regarding the process of taking the Dublin team on in 2013 side-by-side with James Horan's on Mayo, there exists an acreage of common ground.

"There is a freedom there. In terms of practising, when we train, we stick to the basics," says Dublin defender, Darren Daly, in a distinct echo of the words of Horan or any Mayo player last season.

"People think there are secrets there. There's not. Jim will tell you himself. We practise the basics there; passing, shooting. If you can get these things right, you can be a successful team. It's not rocket science, playing football.

"He took us back to the basics and really concentrating on the skills part of it."

Daly himself has had less time to practise such skills, given a nasty hamstring tear suffered just prior to Dublin's opening Allianz League fixture against Kerry, but was, in truth, one of the more familiar names in the low-numbered blue jerseys in Derry two Sundays back.

In that, he presumably found belated solace.

"Initially, you would be very disappointed," he says of the tear which ruled him out for six weeks.

"It was the start of the year too, so it was a setback. You have to use these things to your advantage.

"If you get injured, there are other things you can work on. Strength. Bits of cardio.

"When you get injured initially, yeah, it's disappointing, but you can always work on things that can help you with your game. You can use it to your advantage.

"I got back early this year and tried to get the fitness levels up, but I suppose it's just getting that opportunity and taking it, trying to get as many games as possible and trying to get consistency of performance.


"The ultimate goal is the team to win. From an individual point of view, you want to be playing games. If you don't have that attitude, you shouldn't be there." So not only has he shouldered the responsibility of being one of the more experienced member of a raw Dublin back-line since his comeback, he has had to feel his way into the new playing rules and their application.

"Initially, lads were cautious," he admits. "They were afraid of the black card. But the refs, they're letting it go. They understand that it has to be a deliberate foul and pulled to the ground.

"From a verbal end of things, we know that's a no-go area for us. We have the upmost respect for referees. But as players, we know we still can get stuck in.

"It's about deliberate fouls," Daly continues.

"And the refs are learning that as well.

"Anything new that is brought in, it takes a while for the players and the refs to get an understanding of it.

"When it first came in, everyone was a bit cautious.

"But it's starting to pan out. You still get stuck in. We're being briefed on that. It's the deliberate stuff they're trying to cut out."