Thursday 18 January 2018

'Diarmuid is well able to look after himself' - Jim Gavin plays down Connolly and Lee Keegan hype

Diarmuid Connolly of Dublin tussles with Lee Keegan of Mayo
Diarmuid Connolly of Dublin tussles with Lee Keegan of Mayo
Dublin manager Jim Gavin Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile Newsdesk Newsdesk

Dublin manager Jim Gavin has said that in the lead up to Saturday’s All Ireland SFC final replay against Mayo, there have been no discussions about the much publicised rivalry between Diarmuid Connolly and Lee Keegan.

Despite the physical battles engaged in by Keegan and Connolly being a white-hot topic over the last week, the Dubs boss claimed that the issue has not been raised within their set-up.

“What happened is predictable. Diarmuid is well able to look after himself," he said. “It certainly hasn’t been spoken of in those terms in the Dublin camp. That’s for sure.”

Gavin went on to say that competition for places within the squad is as fierce as ever, but the prevailing mind-set is about the collective, not individuals.

“To their eternal credit, they just want to see what is best for the team.

“So whether a player is starting a game or finishing a game or is part of the 30-man squad, everyone’s nose is pointed in the same direction, they want to do the best for the team to get a team performance.”

However, he put the onus on his players to surpass their performance at Croke Park almost a fortnight ago because if they don’t, the dream of successive All Ireland titles will be shattered by a Mayo outfit chasing their first in 65 years.

“We’re playing a great Mayo team – if they don’t (perform), we won’t get the result,” he insisted.

“They’re playing good football, so it’s going to be a mammoth task for now. They’re talking about winning now. They’re confident about winning So that’s a dangerous team.”

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