Evans: Dubs are good sportsmen and sound guys
Somebody rang John Evans not long after midday on Saturday after the team Jim Gavin had selected to play Wicklow was officially announced on the county board’s website.
“Don’t look at it!,” was the message.
As it went, Gavin picked a team he would happily send into an All-Ireland final, with John Small’s late withdrawal from the starting XV the only adjustment on the day.
“So look, I suppose that anybody could see that the writing was on the wall,” Evans acknowledged after a 23-point defeat he didn’t seem unduly upset about.
“And we knew that ourselves, so it was damage limitation.”
Evans cited his experiences with Tipperary and Roscommon taking on the likes of Kerry and Mayo as evidence that none of this was particularly new to him but the disparity in quality yesterday looked at one stage like it might take on record proportions on the scoreboard.
Dublin hit two goals just before half-time to give themselves an 18-point lead at the break - “killers” according to Evans - although their frantic rate of scoring eased somewhat in the second half.
“But at the same time I just kept telling our lads to keep playing, keep working at it,” Evans explained “and had they got the first couple of scores - you know, we had four wides there in the first 10 or 12 minutes - and had we got the first couple of scores, I think it would have settled us down more because there were a lot of young lads out there.”
“Having said that,” he added, “look, what can I say?
“There are so many superlatives you can say about Dublin, they are just strong everywhere.
“Where you see a weakness, the move may be set up 40 yards down the field because they have got such pace and fitness.
“Look, there is a lot going for them there. They’re unselfish. They’re good sportsmen, they’re sound guys.
“And,” Evans added, tilting his head backwards against the wall outside the dressing-rooms in Portlaoise and laughing, “Gavin has done a good job with them too, lads!
“So look, my take on it is that we stayed playing against tough, tough (opposition)...I mean, they didn’t let up, there was no such thing as keep ball for one minute, they kept on and it was attack, attack, attack.
“People might say, yeah, it was easy to attack against us, but still our fellas kept trying.”