| 15.5°C Dublin

Gavin plays down being favourites

Dublin will look to claim their third provincial success in four years when they face Louth in the Cadbury's Leinster Under-21 Football Championship Final at Páirc Tailteann, Navan tomorrow evening (7.30).

The Dubs have impressed en route to the final, defeating holders Wexford narrowly in the opening round before recording more comprehensive wins over Laois and Westmeath at the quarter-final and last four stage respectively.

Ironically, Laois and Westmeath were the beaten finalists on those two occasions that Dublin prevailed and manager Jim Gavin is hopeful that his side can maintain their unbeaten final record under his stewardship.

"It's great for the players to be involved in a high-profile game like this. Everyone is really looking forward to it and we hope that both counties come out and give both teams the support they deserve," said Gavin.

Gavin's experiences of football at this level is another factor in Dublin's favour but the Round Tower, Clondalkin clubman is keen to underplay his influence when assessing his side's prospects.



Irrelevant

"I think the previous wins are largely irrelevant and it's only really a broader experience that I bring to the table," he said. "It is pure championship football and we can only instill in the players the truism that no team has a god-given right to win.

"That hasn't really been an issue with this particular bunch of players, who are as dedicated and as focused as you would find and the management's job is to facilitate these players in reaching their aims and goals," said Gavin, who co-managed Dublin's 2003 All-Ireland U21-winning team alongside Declan Darcy.

Dublin's rampant favouritism for tomorrow's fixture is both misplaced and disrespectful to a Louth side that has recorded two impressive wins over Longford and Offaly but there is little chance that Gavin will underestimate the Wee County. He said: "In my time as player and manager, I've seen both sides of the coin in relation to favouritism and all I can do is relate to the players that it's all about the next 60 minutes and that there are never any guarantees in championship football.

"The external stuff like that is outside our sphere of influence and all we work on is getting consistency from the players.

"I've very little concern about our lads as they're a very focused and mature bunch. I've been very impressed with Louth who have been very consistent in this campaign and they've shown great application and resolve, especially against Longford when they played a large chunk of the game with 14 men. In Championship football, we all strive to start well and finish well and that has been a trait of Louth's this year," said the 1995 All-Ireland winner.

Dublin should have a clean bill of health for Navan, with the likely exception of St Oliver Plunkett/ Eoghan Ruadh's Conor Walsh, although a number of players were assessed at Dublin's final training session last night.

Injury concerns aside, Gavin's enthusiasm for this championship remains undimmed and he expects another encounter of high quality and intensity in Páirc Tailteann.

"If anyone is looking for value for money, then Navan is the place to be tomorrow night," he said.

The Leinster Council has announced an entry fee of €10 for Adults and €5 for Students/Senior Citizens (with appropriate ID), while Juveniles (Under 16s) gain entrance free of charge.


Privacy