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Sunday 4 December 2016

Dubs not counting on double-digit past

DURING the Jim Gavin era, Dublin have won their three league and championship encounters with Kildare by a cumulative 39 points. Each one has been a double-digit demolition derby.

One man who hasn't been keeping count, though, is the winning manager.

"If you asked me what the scores were in the games, I wouldn't know, genuinely," Gavins maintains. "Those games are kind of in the past for both teams."

In other words, according to Gavin, Kildare's revival over their two-game saga with Laois has far more relevance than the 13-point league defeat shipped to Dublin in 2013, or the 16-point rout in that year's Leinster SFC, or the ten-point trimming in last year's league.

On Sunday we'll have our answer, when the Lilies travel into Dublin's Croke Park den (scene of the above lopsided trilogy) with a Leinster final place at stake.

"Kildare have that momentum, they'll feel like they're in a very good position," the Dublin boss expands.

"They got themselves up in the second game, ready to blitz Laois; they tacked on some great passing moves and got some great scores and fully deserved the margin of their victory as well.

UNFORTUNATE

"I suppose coming in to the game, the league didn't go that well for them - but having seen some of those games, they were unfortunate to get relegated. Deep in a lot of the league games, a lot of them just went away from them.

"They've got a lot of pedigree, they're one of our closest neighbours, so we'd know their club football very well. There's a lot of strength in depth in that Kildare team despite the players that have left for overseas games.

"I think they showed it in those (Laois) games just to hang in. That's a skill in itself. It'll be a different challenge."

Gavin believes it must be an advantage for Kildare to have come through "two tough championship games, regardless of who it's against or where it was played. To have that momentum is invaluable coming into a championship game."

He goes on: "The second half performance against Laois was very impressive ... 3-10 in any game is a great return and I know the work that goes into putting 3-18 on the scoreboard. Ten different scorers, corner-backs and wing-backs, which espouses how the coach wants the game played.

"In both games when they were under pressure, they showed a lot of experience and got bodies behind the ball and dug the result out - particularly the first game. So that shows a lot of character in the team.

"I think they looked very fit, a very well conditioned team, and it's going to be a big challenge for us," he concludes.

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