Sunday 24 March 2019

Gavin won't be fazed if team fail to fire in league - O'Dwyer


Mick O’Dwyer. Photo: Sportsfile
Mick O’Dwyer. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Dublin's prospects of completing a historic All-Ireland five-in-a-row will be in no way damaged if they are tossed out of the contention for the Allianz National Football League title this weekend, according to Mick O'Dwyer.

Defeat by Mayo in Croke Park on Saturday and a Kerry win over Galway on Sunday would leave it virtually impossible for Dublin to reach the league final for a sixth successive year.

And while opponents might regard that as an encouraging sign for the summer, O'Dwyer believes it would have no impact on the drive for five.

"I don't think it would bother Jim Gavin one bit if they didn't get to the league final. We won it in 1982 and it didn't do us much good later on," said O'Dwyer, whose Kerry team failed in the five-in-a-row bid 37 years ago.

"It's all about the championship for Dublin this year. He had been giving new lads a chance so that by summer he will have the biggest possible number to choose from.

"Dublin have taken the league very seriously under Jim Gavin but just because they lost a few games this year it doesn't mean they are slipping," he said.

Kerry's encouraging start to the league has sent optimism levels soaring in the Kingdom that they are building a team which will halt Dublin, and while O'Dwyer cautions against reading too much into early-season form, he has been impressed by Peter Keane's new-look squad.

"They're young, talented and hungry and they're improving. People are saying they're too young to win an All-Ireland but I don't believe that at all.

"We did it in 1975 with a team of young lads. Players of that age are well able to compete at the highest level. If the Kerry lads can keep up the rate of improvement anything could happen, even this year," he said.

Irish Independent

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