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Dubs quell Rebels to set up Ros' duel

DUBLIN manager Jim Gavin has paid tribute to the resolve and attitude of his panel following their All-Ireland U21 Football Championship semi-final win over Cork in Portlaoise last Saturday afternoon.

The Dubs overcame a sticky opening in which they trailed by 0-5 to 0-1 to eventually prevail by 3-11 to 0-14, with Gavin keen to acknowledge the composure of his men in light of the impressive opening from the Munster champions.


"All through the year, the team has shown great resolve and attitude. Naturally, they have a gameplan and framework to work within, with a licence to play things as they see them.

"It was encouraging to see the guys hold their shape during a difficult first quarter and they are always focused on the totality of the game.

"There will be constant ebb and flow throughout but once they are ahead at the final whistle that is all that concerns them," said Gavin.

Dublin's six point winning margin confirmed a second All-Ireland Final appearance in three years, highlighting the underage talent that has developed in the county in recent years.

The seamless progression of last year's minors onto the panel emphasises the correlation involved in this process, with Jack McCaffrey once again underlining his huge promise with another eye-catching display, including his game-settling goal.

"I believe that all the minors from last year have transitioned really well to the demands at this level. Essentially, there are three separate cohorts within the panel with the U19s, U20s and U21s, and it is important to find the right balance between the three.

"They have been encouraged to step up to the mark and have done so at various stages this year, and that I feel is a great reflection on the work being done at underage level, starting with the development squads," added the 1995 All-Ireland winner.

The strength in depth available to Gavin was another key aspect of Saturday's win with the Dubs, despite ill-informed comments to the contrary, more than the one-man team that some had lazily labelled them along with far too great an emphasis being placed on their physicality and conditioning, according to Gavin.

"First and foremost, conditioning and fitness are part of the game but they're only a small part of the greater picture.

"Any teams involved at this level will have a similar amount of work done and Cork were no different last Saturday.

"Personally, I feel there was an uneducated focus on that area of our game and that a lot of our play was misinterpreted.

"What some observers saw as physicality, we would put down to the attitude and determination of our players, and many of the turnovers we produced were attributable to our application and intensity rather than any perceived advantage we had in terms of our size.

"It was also very encouraging that the scoring was spread among the forwards and if we are to succeed in the final, we will need different fellas stepping up to the plate.

"The likes of Philly Ryan (2-3) and Paul Hudson (0-2) did that on Saturday.

"The guys that came off the bench also did very well with Paul Maguire and Gerry Seaver showing very well, so we have to be happy with where we are at the moment," added Gavin.

Dublin's reward is a final berth against Roscommon, who conceded just four scores in their 2-7 to 2-2 win over Cavan in Pearse Park, Longford, last Saturday.

The Dublin manager has the height of respect for the Connacht champions and the challenge they present.

"Like ourselves, Roscommon have invested an awful lot of resources in their underage structures and their record at minor level in recent times is very impressive.

"They beat a very good Cavan team the other day and that is a huge indication of their strength," concluded the Round Tower Clondalkin clubman.