herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

McCarthy shoulder fears are dismissed by Gavin

Dublin boss reckons Mayo have 'tightened up a lot defensively' since start of season

Dublin manager Jim Gavin
Dublin manager Jim Gavin

Jim Gavin insisted he had "no concerns" about James McCarthy's shoulder at yesterday's pre All-Ireland final press conference.

The inspirational Ballymun player overcame the knee injury that ruled him out of Dublin's Leinster final and All-Ireland quarter-final to play the duration of their victory over Kerry two Sundays back.

He was, however, wearing a sling afterwards and is likely to have missed at least some training sessions in advance of Dublin's showdown with Mayo on September 18.

McCarthy is certain to start his fourth All-Ireland final that day though despite the obvious disruption to his preparations, Gavin stressed that he was unconcerned.

The Dublin manager pointed out that McCarthy "is as tough as teak," adding: "you saw his mobility on the pitch, that's what he was demonstrating in the weeks leading up to that game."

Dublin's James McCarthy
Dublin's James McCarthy

Pushing

Gavin also clarified that Denis Bastick was not injured for the Kerry match and his non-appearance was merely a selection call.

"He's in the shape of his life," he explained.

"It's a team game like we've always said and whatever players we ask to take the field to do the job but behind that there's a squad of 30 pushing each other on along the way and he's a big part of that."

Of Mayo, Gavin said that he was "playing a bit of catch-up," after their epic semi-final win, intimating that he was not yet fully up to speed on Dublin's opponents.

"It's not match-week yet."

He did, however, say that he was unsurprised to see them back in an All-Ireland final, despite flopping so spectacularly in their Connacht SFC opener to Galway in Castlebar.

"From what I've seen of them, I'm not surprised when you look at the players they have," he outlined.

"It's a very mature team and they have learned a lot. They have been in finals before so they know how to get here.

"Over the last number of games in the qualifier series, it has benefited them.

"They've got a run now and tightened things up defensively. They have introduced a few younger players from their 21 squad so it doesn't surprise me.

"Plus their manager as well . . . Stephen Rochford has achieved a lot with his club as a player and with Corofin, three Galway championships on the spin and winning the All-Ireland club series.

"He is a proven club manager so it seems to be a good fit. They will be a good challenge for us."

Gavin rubbished the widely-aired theory that Mayo were going into the final under the radar because of their largely unimpressive performance in the semi-final victory over Tipperary.

"Good teams get to finals and they are a good team," he said.

"You don't come into an All-Ireland final under the radar.

"They have earned all their victories along the way and learned a lot from it. They have been right up there in the past.

"Any time we have played them from 2013 to last year, even up in Castlebar this February, there wasn't a bounce of a ball between us.

"I'm sure there will be a bounce of a ball again between us again."

Gavin was also asked about Mayo selector, Tony McEntee's 2014 assertion in his then Irish Examiner column that there was "huge arrogance in the Dublin set-up, from winning an All-Ireland, and that creates blind spots".

"I think for anybody who writes in sports journalism, they're just opinions," Gavin stated.

"That's why people are paid to do that, to express their opinions and that's all it is."

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