Wednesday 21 February 2018

WATCH - Dublin boss Jim Gavin delivers humorous and insightful speech to his home club Round Towers

Jim Gavin delivering the speech at Round Towers
Jim Gavin delivering the speech at Round Towers Newsdesk Newsdesk

Dublin manager Jim Gavin delivered laughs and insights into the role his parents and former managers had in shaping him as a player in a speech at his home club of Round Towers in Clondalkin on Saturday.

Gavin has been criticised over the past eight days for not showing enough emotion after their All-Ireland triumph over Mayo and his Dublin players have received similar treatment for banal interviews in the aftermath of their success.

Paul Kimmage took aim at Gavin yesterday on Off The Ball on Newstalk for his demeanour in the post-game press conference after winning a fourth All-Ireland title in five years.

"What is this all about? You come in here, you look like you've lost - if you turn off the sound and just watch the expressions you'd say these guys have lost - so what is the point in winning?," he said.

"What is the point if there's no joy, or if you can't express that joy? Does coming in here and actually being a bit gracious toward the losers, and expressing a bit of joy, mean you can't win again next year? Well if that's the price, then give me losers. If that's what we're going to get from Jim Gavin and his team for the next four years, then I'm not interested."

Gavin cut a completely different figure in Clondalkin on Saturday evening.

He was engaging, had the audience in the palm of his hand and joked about how he had chased his mum in the same clubhouse he was in over three decades ago.

"I was here 31 years ago dancing with your mammy.. on this exact spot, chasing her around the tables. She was ducking and diving," he said.

He credited his parents Ann and Jimmy for instilling a respect for hard work and humility in him and he has tried to pass those on to his Dublin players.

"Not only were they a big influence upon my life - when we used to travel to West Clare back in the day, when the roads were difficult and the journey took half a day, Jimmy [his father] would sing songs on the way, so I didn't pick up his beautiful singing voice - but what I picked up off my mum and dad were their capacity for hard work. I always remember my Mum, a primary school teacher in Inchicore, way ahead of her time, working for the family," he added.

"That was probably a reflection of how hard my mum worked at her career. And for my Dad, I always remember getting up early in the morning to go to work. I'd go to school, do my homework - on time! [laughter as Gavin turns to face his children] - play a bit of football and hurling and then go to bed. Only then would my father get in after a hard day's work, hands covered in oil with sweat running down his brow. That capacity for hard work is something that has stood to me for a long time, so thanks Mum and Dad.

"The other trait I picked up from them was the honesty and humility that myself Shane and Jason have tried to create in the Dublin team. That hunger and humility to realise that you are only as good as your last game. Those players can put behind all the success in they have had and be totally present, knowing that whoever they are facing are going to give them a great game, that is one of the players' greatest strength. So to the players in the audience, well done."

He also claimed that last week's win was the best achieved during his reign and he praised the character of his Dublin players who were severely tested by Stephen Rochford's men.

"In my humble opinion, we probably had our best performance in an All-Ireland final, under the particular circumstances. We faced a team that was desperate to win, since 1951 they've been trying to win the All-Ireland so you see what it means to them, the support they had there, the run that they had been on - we had five games, they had nine which was big for them," he said

"But to open with a brilliant controlled goal - expertly finished by Con, but it was a real team goal if you look back on it. And then to suffer the setback of losing Jack McCaffrey, we had to move a couple of pawns around the chess board. We were on the ropes, but we got into the dressing room, we reset them, and we went out for the second half.

"We went two points up, playing really well, [before] an outstanding goal by Lee Keegan, as he always seems to do against us!

"But yet again, what really impressed myself, Shane O'Hanlon, Declan Darcy and Jason Sherlock, we got great pride from seeing the players - not only their physical attributes - but the real measure of these characters in the heat of battle. When the pressure is on, that's when your character comes out. And to see how the Dublin players managed themselves in those crucial final moments of the game. They knew exactly what they wanted to do, and for me, that was our best performance for as long as we have been involved."

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