Gavin hails mental resolve and motivation of focussed players
Jim Gavin refused to be swept away on a tide of hype at Croke Park last night after watching his side demolish Monaghan in their All-Ireland quarter-final. Dublin are long odds on to remain Sam Maguire's home for another year and their comfortable success will do nothing to dispel that conviction, but the manager is confident his players will not be affected by their supporters' fervour.
"We can't control the externals and what people say about us, in either a positive or a negative light, but I am certain that it will not distract the Dublin players. I have witnessed the mental resolve and mental strength that they apply to every task and the great motivation they have. They hold themselves accountable and their ambition is a joy to behold," was his glowing praise for the Dublin players and the basis for his belief they can insulate themselves from outside pressures.
Laconic captain Stephen Cluxton has a simple solution for protecting his team-mates from outside expectations: "Keep them away from the media."
Gavin admitted there were aspects of the performance that Dublin needed to improve on, especially their accuracy when in cruise control.
"In the first half, especially when we scored the two goals, we took our opportunities and kept the scoreboard moving. We had lots of chances in the second half that we didn't take and that is one of the areas where we still have room to grow and improve. If we stay stagnant then the other teams will catch us," he added.
Dublin will take on Donegal in a repeat of the 2011 All-Ireland semi-final which Dublin won on the way to the title, but Gavin insisted that his, and the team's, focus had been consumed solely by Monaghan and they had not given a moment's thought to how they will contend with the Ulster champions. They will continue with the approach that has served them well so far in their quest to extend their reign as All-Ireland champions for another year.
"All I can ask of them is to be the best they can be. Some days that is enough and on other days it isn't. Their key strength is their mental resolve and their industry.
"We saw that today in the way they kept probing Monaghan's defence, looking for the gaps to form and they found those chinks of light. There is a great spirit and energy in this group."
Sunday Indo Sport