Thursday 18 January 2018

Gavin out to make history as Dubs close in on fourth straight title

Dublin manager Jim Gavin is eyeing a place in the history books with a win over Derry tomorrow. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Dublin manager Jim Gavin is eyeing a place in the history books with a win over Derry tomorrow. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Jim Gavin will be bidding for the rare distinction of presiding over four title successes in a year when he leads Dublin in pursuit of their 10th Allianz Football League crown in Croke Park tomorrow (4.00pm).

A rejuvenated Derry provide the opposition in what will be the first league final between the counties since 1976, when Dublin won by a point. Gavin made the perfect start to his career as Dublin manager last year when his side won the league, Leinster and All-Ireland titles. Tomorrow, they will bid to extend the winning run which, if achieved, will earn them a place in history as the first Dublin team to retain the league title.

They are 1/4 favourites to beat Derry, who themselves are chasing a rare double, having won Division 2 last year. Manager Brian McIver is also on a special mission as he attempts to lead a second county to league glory, having been in charge of Donegal when they triumphed for the first time in 2007.

POWERFUL

He has been a huge success with Derry, transforming them into a powerful outfit. They have beaten Dublin, Mayo, Kerry, Kildare and Westmeath this season.

Derry, who are seeking their seventh league title – first since 2008 – had six points to spare (1-16 to 0-13) over Dublin in Celtic Park last month, delivering a performance which will have left Gavin's men under no illusion as to the extent of the challenge awaiting them.

There's also big interest in the Division 2 final (2.00pm), a repeat of last year's Ulster final when Monaghan stunned Donegal.

It heralded Monaghan's re-emergence as a major force, a course they maintained this spring by joining Donegal on the promotion trail to Division 1. Donegal beat Monaghan in their Division 2 group game in Letterkenny last month.

Croke Park hosts the Division 4 (Clare v Tipperary, 5.0)0pm and Division 3 (Cavan v Roscommon, 7.00pm) finals this evening.

Irish Independent

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