Blitz puts Gavin in a tight spot
JIM GAVIN is off to a winning start as Dublin boss but he's still likely to shake up his starting team for Wednesday night's showdown with DCU - and not just because of an early-season injury to Michael Darragh Macauley.
Like all their Leinster rivals, the Dubs face a hectic week of competitive activity with three O'Byrne Cup games squeezed into eight days.
Even though he is working off an extended squad at present, Gavin is not a fan of the initial fixture blitz brought about by the competition's new format.
"We have 12-14 guys with the colleges," he pointed out.
"Emmet O Conghaile and Paul Hudson have exams (today) so we gave them the day off to study, and obviously we don't have the Ballymun contingent as well.
"So it's tight enough, and I'm sure it's tight for every manager at this stage. Three games over seven days, to me, is a bit much to be honest, but we'll do our best."
Macauley only lasted 18 minutes of yesterday's opener in Carlow before being forced off with a quad injury. He was on crutches afterwards as a precaution, making him an obvious doubt for Wednesday night's Parnell Park date with DCU (throw-in 7.30).
"We'll see how he reacts over the next 48 hours and if he's available to play. It's a quick turnaround for Wednesday, so you're probably looking at maybe next weekend before he can (resume)," his manager admitted.
Speaking after yesterday's seven-point victory, and prompted by a question from a local journalist, Gavin was quick to dismiss any notion that Carlow are a "minnow" county. His opposite number, Anthony Rainbow, now hopes to prove as much through results.
"We've worked an awful lot on our intensity in training," he explained.
"One of the players who has improved an awful lot on that is Ray Walker. I thought he had a super game today in the (sweeper) role that we played him in. He's added something to the team, he's added something to training... you know, when you have one player doing it, they're all going to do it, it's a chain reaction.
"We have a larger panel as well," added Rainbow, who served as a Carlow selector last year under Luke Dempsey.
"We have probably 34, 35 players and that makes a big difference."