Gavin hopes Kerry stars play on

Dublin manager Jim Gavin, right, shakes hands with Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice after the game.
Dublin manager Jim Gavin, right, shakes hands with Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice after the game.

Jason O'Connor

SIMILAR to Eamonn Fitzmaurice, Jim Gavin didn't fully appreciate the quality of last Sunday's encounter in Croke Park in the immediate aftermath, but believed that both counties were true to their traditions in how they played in the semi-final.

"Both teams probably played in the way that they believed that football should be played. I know people will talk about the space that we left open at times but that's the way I and everyone else in Dublin was brought up to play the game.

"Whether it's successful or not is a different matter, but we will always encourage an open and expansive game. I don't really appreciate the quality of a game when I'm on the sideline. I'm looking at plays and how they develop and focus solely on that. I'll look back at the game at the end of the year and judge how good it was," the Dublin manager said.

The former All-Ireland Under 21 winning manager said that he was not in any way surprised by Kerry's first-half performance.

"If you look at the first-half of their games against Tipperary, Cork and Cavan, it's similar to the scores they put up in those matches. No team likes conceding three goals in the first-half but we didn't let it faze us.

"We were under no illusions in advance that the game could go either way coming down the stretch like it did and the final scoreline to me is not a true reflection on the overall nature of the game.

"Serious questions were asked of us today by Kerry and I felt that we answered most of them with how we responded to their goals," Gavin said.

The tight nature of the game was probably best seen by the fact he was one of the few people in Sky Blue not to jump up and down deliriously after Kevin McMenamon's goal as he still felt the game was not over and done with at that stage.

Gavin felt that Dublin had to work harder to win frees on the day but felt that there was no malice in Johnny Cooper's challenge on his namesake Colm towards the end of the game.

"For me in real time it looked like a great challenge and I honestly felt that Johnny was going in to try and win the ball," the Dublin manager said of the incident.

While Dublin's thoughts will obviously turn now to Mayo in the final on September 22, Gavin did have some words for the Kerry players who might see Dublin again in the white hot heat of battle on the pitch.

"I would be very disappointed to see some of those Kerry players walk away after today. That's a decision only they can make however. We will always have great respect in Dublin for the way Kerry play the game and some of those players have been great ambassadors for the GAA.

"They have given so much to Gaelic Football and been involved in so many great matches down through the years and we wish them the very best of luck with whatever decision they decide to make on their own futures."

A sentiment that probably will be concurred countrywide, but Donie Buckley is the only Kerry man now with the chance of stopping the Dubs from claiming their second All-Ireland title in three years on the third Sunday in September.

The fact Mayo have beaten Dublin in their last two Championship encounters will probably keep the 2011 champions' feet on the ground ahead of the inevitable hype that will come in the capital for the decider.


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