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We've no gripe with Royals, says manager Gavin

IN what could be interpreted as an unwillingness to ignite further tension, Jim Gavin has claimed that the relationship between Dublin and Meath "is still as strong as ever," despite the lingering ill feeling established by the biting allegation arising from the Leinster final.

In his first public statement on the subject since he was told of the accusation in his post Leinster final press conference by attending journalists, Gavin asked for his view on Mick O'Dowd making public a claim by Mickey Burke that he had been bitten on the finger by a Dublin player in a fractious exchange during the second half of Dublin's 16-point win.

"The manager has got to do whatever he feels best for his team," he said, declining to opine as to whether he agreed with the actions of the Meath manager,

"What a manager does, that's in his control and we can't influence that.

"There's a great respect and admiration for Meath. We like the way they play their football. I always enjoy watching them play football. That relationship is still as strong as ever."


Subsequently, Eoghan O'Gara was touted as the player most likely to face disciplinary rebuke, although a CCCC investigation was dropped due to a lack of evidence.

"I just thought that Eoghan showed great composure for a big strong man, to maintain his self discipline when he was under stress," said Gavin, when asked whether he resented the fact that the Templeogue/Synge Street man had been brought under public scrutiny.

"As I said, it's not really talked about in the Dublin squad. We just moved on to the next game pretty quickly. As I said, a manager needs to do what he feels is best for his team and for his players."

On a more general disciplinary note ahead of what could amount to feisty All-Ireland quarter-final with Monaghan, Gavin said it was important that Dublin's summer not suffer the consequences of a needless suspension.

"Yeah, it is a core value of the team, to maintain their discipline both on and off the field," he stated.

"They are in a privileged position, the management team are in a privileged position, to represent their county and with that comes that responsibility.

"We don't always get it right and in a contact sport sometimes mistakes are made but the important thing for me is the players are trying to be the best that they can be in that regard and whatever stresses they come under during a game, I think generally speaking they have maintained their composure and self discipline.

"As I said, sometimes mistakes are made but generally they have been good in that regard and that would be a key philosophy of ours."

On a related theme, the Leinster final was Dublin's 12th consecutive match without a black card, though Gavin said there has been no particular focus on that particular measure.

"We go after heavily in our training sessions on the art of defending," he said. "You don't always get it right.

"Obviously frees are conceded but it's nice to have that record. It's not something that we've focused too heavily on but we want to get the tackle right so that we don't concede frees. That's the main thing really that we go after."