GAVIN FACING TOUGH CALLS ON SELECTION
BOSS Jim Gavin believes Dublin’s bid for the three-in-arow, a feat not even achieved by the great Dublin team of the 1970s, is not a motivating factor as they head into Sunday’s decider with Mayo in Croke Park (3.30pm).
Dublin beat Mayo in last year’s epic replay to achieve back-to-back titles, which they last achieved in 1977.
And while aware that a win at the weekend would elevate this current team’s status, the Round Towers Clondalkin man was stoic as ever.
‘It is what it is,’ said Gavin in reference to the three-in-arow bid, ‘but we have always focused on getting the performance in each of our games.
‘We would never compare ourselves with the great Dublin teams of the past. We are just trying to add a little bit to their outstanding legacy and that’s the genesis of all the Dublin footballers.’
It was suggested to Gavin that in putting together a squad for Sunday he would adopt the ‘horses for courses’ approach and choose players well versed in dealing with the Mayo challenge.
However, he insisted that the work done on the training grounds in the three weeks since Dublin’s semi-final win over Tyrone will ultimately shape his thinking.
‘It’s a blank sheet. The choices the players make and what they bring to each session will populate that team sheet of 26 players for the All-ireland final.
‘There will be some very some tough calls to make when picking the 26 and hopefully for the management team we will get it right.’
To date, Gavin has made some very astute calls - most notably when springing Cormac Costello from the bench in last year’s replay.
The Whitehall Colmcilles man would repay Gavin’s faith with three points off the bench as Dublin blitzed a tiring Mayo defence in the final 15 minutes. By contrast, Mayo boss Stephen Rochford’s decision to start with Rob Hennelly in place of David Clarke in goal was called into question, and he raised further eyebrows in Mayo’s drawn game with Kerry last month when deciding to drop Aidan O’shea back onto Kieran Donaghy.
But Gavin believes Mayo will pose a very big threat.
‘They can pose threats at many levels,’ he said. ‘In the first half against Kerry they had 17 shots and kicked seven, so they probably would have been disappointed with that, but they’ve been racking up big scores and looking very impressive.’