Thursday 17 October 2019

'I have committed to next year so we'll reflect on it' - Jim Gavin on future after latest triumph

Dublin players and family get the party started with the Sam Maguire on the Croke Park pitch. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Dublin players and family get the party started with the Sam Maguire on the Croke Park pitch. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Jim Gavin will take time to decide on his future as Dublin football manager in the wake of a historic five-in-a-row and a sixth All-Ireland title in his seven-year reign.

Gavin was more expressive, emotional and clearly satisfied than he has been, in public anyway, after any of his six previous All-Ireland final post-match press conferences, going to great lengths to name check almost all of his extensive backroom team and those players who didn't make the 26-man squad.

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Dublin's James McCarthy in action against Kerry's Gavin Crowley of Kerry during the All-Ireland SFC replay at Croke Park. Photo: David Fitzgerald
Dublin's James McCarthy in action against Kerry's Gavin Crowley of Kerry during the All-Ireland SFC replay at Croke Park. Photo: David Fitzgerald

It hinted at a possible departure in the coming weeks, though when asked if he felt it was a natural end he was clear to play it down.

"I can't say it does for me," he said.

"I haven't had those conversations (with backroom support) yet for obvious reasons. I will over the next couple of weeks and then scope it out," he said.

"You sit down with the county board and you always review it.

"I have a profession outside of this role I've been asked to do for Dublin and I have family commitment too. It all goes into the mix. But it's not the time [to talk about it].

"I have committed to next year so we'll reflect on it."

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A number of retirements are expected in the coming months but Gavin sees no reason why his captain Stephen Cluxton, and now one of the leading contenders for Footballer of the Year, should not stay around.

On Cluxton's save from Stephen O'Brien at a pivotal moment in the second half, Gavin gave some insight into what makes him the great competitor and leader he has become. "I saw it (the save from O'Brien) earlier on this week. I saw it on the day after the replay, him spending two hours on the pitch with Evan Comerford and Michael Shiel (replacement goalkeepers), the three of them with the goalkeeping coach (Josh Moran) working on trying to rectify his positioning for the Killian Spillane goal in the first game.

"That is someone who is dedicated to his craft and the result of that is what you see in those clutch moments, to have the composure to just do his job, that's what Stephen does, he just does his job."

On Diarmuid Connolly's return to the squad in July, Gavin reiterated that he had been always welcome since leaving some 17 months earlier.

"It was great to have him back. He loves Dublin GAA, loves playing for the county, he loves the guys, guys love him. It was always going to be a win-win. Life is not a straight line. There are twists and turns and cul de sacs. The way it happened, the way it happened. He was always welcome. I was consistent on that."

Kerry manager Peter Keane felt his team were well placed to be a force in the next decade.

"If you want to put a positive spin on it, you're thinking that, but at the end of the day you've lost an All-Ireland final and you go away and you lick your wounds and gather yourself and come at it again next year," he said.

Keane described the decision to have the replay at 6.0 on a Saturday evening as "crazy" but recoiled from suggesting it impacted on their preparations, having to fill the time for so long yesterday.

"If I answered that, it sounds like a whinge," he said.

Keane was happy with their work at the kick-outs despite not pushing up in such a daring manner this time.

"I was just looking at a few stats inside, we won 100 per cent of our kick-outs and we won two of their kick-outs. How are you going to complain about that?" he asked.

Keane said Kerry could have no regrets at not closing it out in the drawn game.

"I wouldn't have felt we left it behind, right. I could see the argument. Dean Rock had a chance of kicking a winner at the end of it so had he scored that there would have been no leaving it behind, we'd have lost it.

"I suppose with any young team, what did we have we had 11 fellas that started in an All-Ireland for the first time. We had two fellas who came on in that game so that was 13 fellas playing in their first All-Ireland final. So in many ways you'd have said, 'Jesus this is great' because you're getting another shot at it, another opportunity to build on it."

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