Tuesday 25 June 2019

Open-door policy one of Gavin's greatest strengths - Ó Flatharta

At the launch of Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta 2019 at Croke Park were Seán Ó hEarcáin (Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta) and Seosamh Mac Donncha (Cathaoirleach Choiste Náisiúnta na Gaeilge CLG) with the Cup and from left to right: Antóin Delap (Gaoth Dobhair), Tomás Ó hAiniféin (Lios Póil), Conal Ó
hIarnáin (CLG Oileáin Árann), Aodhán Mac Fhionnghaile (Cill Chártha), Sinéad Ní Cholmáin (Laochra Loch Lao), Éamonn Mac Giolla Bhríde (Gaoth Dobhair), Seán Ó Catháin (An Ghaeltacht), Colm Ó Muircheartaigh (An Ghaeltacht), Séamus Ó Muirithe (Cill Chomáin), Ciarán Mac Fhearghusa (Na Gaeil Óga), and Donie Breathnach (An Rinn). Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
At the launch of Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta 2019 at Croke Park were Seán Ó hEarcáin (Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta) and Seosamh Mac Donncha (Cathaoirleach Choiste Náisiúnta na Gaeilge CLG) with the Cup and from left to right: Antóin Delap (Gaoth Dobhair), Tomás Ó hAiniféin (Lios Póil), Conal Ó hIarnáin (CLG Oileáin Árann), Aodhán Mac Fhionnghaile (Cill Chártha), Sinéad Ní Cholmáin (Laochra Loch Lao), Éamonn Mac Giolla Bhríde (Gaoth Dobhair), Seán Ó Catháin (An Ghaeltacht), Colm Ó Muircheartaigh (An Ghaeltacht), Séamus Ó Muirithe (Cill Chomáin), Ciarán Mac Fhearghusa (Na Gaeil Óga), and Donie Breathnach (An Rinn). Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

One thing is certain about Dublin boss Jim Gavin - he isn't the type to go back on his word.

When Jack McCaffrey sensationally left the Dublin fold to go travelling just months after being named 2015 Footballer of the Year, he went with Gavin's blessing.

With the travel bug gone from his system, the Clontarf flyer was welcomed back with open arms for the 2017 season and has continued exactly where he left off with two stellar seasons and two All-Stars.

Gavin has always stated that the personnel within his squad are people first and players second with personal development superseding anything else.

When Rory O'Carroll left a hole at the edge of the Dublin square to go travelling following their 2015 All-Ireland victory, Gavin reiterated that what was best for O'Carroll was all that mattered.

Superb

The Dubs would continue on without him - they have done so in superb style, winning the next three Sam Maguires - but if the Kilmacud Crokes defender wanted to return, the door was always open.

When three years elapsed without any trace of O'Carroll, few thought the two-time All-Star would wear sky blue again but once a permanent return home materialised, he was soon back in tow.

Tomás Ó Flatharta. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Tomás Ó Flatharta. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

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Few expected a comeback but Tomás Ó Flatharta views Gavin's loyalty as one of his most admirable traits and feels it's another reason why the Dublin juggernaut rolls on seamlessly despite faces changing.

"I think Jim has kept his word in that when lads went away he wished them the best of luck and that the place was always open for them on the Dublin team if they returned," Ó Flatharta said.

"At the same time, he's not going to be putting a lad on the field for the sake of it. He's doing it for the sake of Dublin football and making sure that every single one of them are doing the best for Dublin.

"It's just about Dublin and not about themselves personally and those lads are fantastic team players, every single one of them and that's the way that they're going for this drive for five."

Speaking at the launch of the 50th Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta - which takes place in Corca Dhuibhne from May 31 to June 3 - the former Galway and Westmeath manager spoke of his expectation to see O'Carroll feature this summer.

"I wasn't surprised that he was called in. Rory is his own man and he's played a few games since he came back. I've seen him play, he's played okay, he hasn't set the world on fire or anything," Ó Flatharta said.

"But he's back into the panel now and there's one thing about Rory, he's very, very competitive. I see Jim Gavin saying that he'll have to fight for his place and that's the way Rory will take it.

"If Rory doesn't get picked, he won't be shouting or screaming or anything because he's a great team player. But he'll wait for his chance and he will compete for his place.

"I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he plays in the championship. He's a great marker and his level of concentration in games is phenomenal, he's similar to Marc Ó Sé when he was playing."

That appearance could come this Saturday when they open their five-in-a-row All-Ireland bid against Louth in O'Moore Park as they eye a ninth provincial crown in succession.

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