Gavin happy at progress from league
Jim: Andrews challenge 'reckless'
There was no critical analysis from Jim Gavin in Kingspan Breffni Park yesterday after a grinding six-point win over Cavan or no stinging rebuke for his players as there had been in Croke Park eight days previously.
Instead he delivered a chirpy message to sign off Dublin's League, an oddly inconsistent body of work in which they have, for the first time in Gavin's reign, failed to make a final.
"Oh yeah," Gavin enthused when asked whether the campaign had served any particularly purpose for him.
"It's been a good League for us," he asserted. "Our performances in general, we take some satisfaction from them. We're probably averaging 17 or 18 points per game, a lot more than any team out there - so that's pleasing.
"We got a lot of game time into players as well. So we had a good 10-week block. We got a lot from it."
Yesterday, was not a classic Dublin performance.
For all Gavin's insistence that Dublin "had our eyes firmly on this game to get what we can out of it," the absence of consequence or tangible reward sucked the bite out of it.
Like the Tyrone game, they appeared heavy of leg and weary of mind, fuelling the theory that suggests Dublin are mid-slog at this relatively advanced stage of the football year.
And had he spent the previous week highlighting and examining footage of Dublin's sloppiness and passivity against Tyrone the previous week, Gavin wasn't about to admit it.
"What we referenced was just that our skill set last week was off," he insisted. "And the standards that the players set themselves wasn't what we'd expect from them, no matter who we're playing against.
"That was the only thing we referenced from the previous game."
Dean Rock had a fine game yesterday, scoring 0-9 - three points from play - while Paul Mannion overcame a clumsy opening to fire 1-3 (0-1m).
Otherwise, there were only fleeting glimpses of summer form.
James McCarthy controlled the game robustly from centre-back, Michael Darragh Macauley expended more energy in his 65 minutes on the pitch than several of his team-mates put together while Darren Daly was tidy and composed in a defence shy up to five summer starters.
"For all these players, it's their last League game of 2019," Gavin pointed out, on the day that both Bernard Brogan and Philly McMahon made their first appearances of the season for Dublin as second substitutes, although neither was particularly involved.
"It's a very competitive squad. In some ways we've got a week back now that we can begin Championship preparations immediately."
Again, Dublin's defensive vulnerability under a high ball was exploited when Martin Reilly palmed Cavan's goal in the first half.
But Cavan, who were relegated straight back to Division 1, didn't have enough in attack to trouble Dublin's makeshift defence.
When he spoke post-Tyrone, Gavin hadn't learned the extent of Paddy Andrews's injury, nor had he reviewed footage of how the St Brigid's man's jaw had been fractured in a challenge with Niall Morgan for which the Ederdork goalkeeper was extremely fortunate not to have been sent off.
"Yeah I've obviously looked at it as part of a review. It was a reckless challenge to the head," said Gavin.
"Paddy's a tough man. I was with him St Patrick's morning in the hospital. Bright as a button. Chatting about the game as best he could. Chatting about when he would be back.
"From his club's perspective, he's very disappointed that he's going to miss those two rounds. But he's here today. He's a tough nut. He was with us in our first session back early last week. That's just the calibre of the man."
SCORERS - Dublin: D Rock 0-9 (5f, 1m), P Mannion 1-3 (0-1m), C Kilkenny (m), K McManamon, S Bugler, C Basquel 0-1 each. Cavan: M Reilly 1-2 (0-1m), G McKiernan 0-3 (2f), C Conroy, C Madden, D McVeety (m), P Graham, K Clarke 0-1 each
DUBLIN: E Comerford; D Byrne, C O'Sullivan, D Daly; B Howard, J McCarthy, C O'Connor; MD Macauley, D Gavin; P Flynn, C O'Callaghan, N Scully; P Mannion, C Kilkenny, D Rock. Subs: K McManamon for Flynn (43), S Bugler for Scully (47), P McMahon for O'Connor (57), C Basquel for Mannion (63), B Brogan for Macauley (65)
CAVAN: R Galligan; P Faulkner, K Clarke, J McLoughlin; C Rehill, C Moynagh, G Smith; G McKiernan, J Galligan; C Brady, D McVeety, P Graham; M Reilly, C Conroy, C Madden. Subs: B Fortune for McLoughlin (46 inj), J Brady for Madden (49), C Mackey for G Smith (50), N Murray for Graham (52), S Murray for Conroy (64)
WIDES - Dublin: 10 (5 + 5). Cavan: 8 (4 + 4)
BOOKED - Dublin: 4 (McCarthy 24, Scully 24, Flynn 43, O'Callaghan 69). Cavan: 1 (Clarke 24, Rehilly 24)
BLACK CARD - Cavan: 1 (Moynagh 65)
REF: R Hickey (Clare)
MAN OF THE MATCH: Dean Rock (Dublin)