Friday 22 March 2019

Gavin is miffed at Small ban and missed chances

RIVAL CAMPS: Donegal manager Declan Bonner and Dublin’s Jim Gavin shakes hands after Saturday night’s game
RIVAL CAMPS: Donegal manager Declan Bonner and Dublin’s Jim Gavin shakes hands after Saturday night’s game

Jim Gavin came into the press room in Croke Park equipped with nothing more than a basic breakdown of Tyrone's recent scoring exploits and his disappointment over the CHC's decision to uphold the one-match ban John Small served on Saturday night.

Small will be available for Saturday's trip to Omagh, where he performed a useful man-marking job on Peter Harte in Dublin's League victory there last February.

But Gavin pronounced himself unhappy with the fact that his defender wasn't cleared to play Donegal, despite the use of what he described as "conclusive evidence," of Small's innocence.

"He hit the ball," Gavin insisted of the incident in the Leinster final where referee Barry Cassidy adjudged the contact Small made with Laois' Evan O'Carroll as warranting a straight red card.

"He hit the ball first, we gave conclusive evidence that the ball was struck first and it was just an accidental hit, these things happen in a contact sport so, yeah, very disappointed with that one."

Gavin's other professed disappointment centred around Dublin's uncharacteristic wastefulness on Saturday evening.

The official match stats show that Dublin had 62 per cent of possession but also, that they converted just 11 of 25 scoring chances from play.


"That is exactly it, the chances that we had, that we didn't convert is disappointing particularly when we spend most of our practice sessions going after the skills of the game - shooting for points and goals," he outlined. "The next day which we have against Tyrone that won't be good enough to see the last two games after today's result, 7-44 they have put up in two games.

"We will need to be putting up scores at the other end.

"That gives us something to reflect upon, it won't be good enough.

"That is, I suppose, a disappointing thing."

"We controlled it very well, but it is the conversion in the first part of the second half that gives us some food for thought.

"Donegal are a class team, they are not going to let you get away. There was maybe two kicks in it at the end, that is more of a reflection of them and their determination.

"They'll have a lot to say in this competition."

"It was just one of those days, I suppose the positive you can take is we kept our composure and we kept trying to work a score.

"That is all you can expect from them and we created a lot of chances in the game, just up in Omagh we have to try to convert them."

As for next Saturday, Gavin wasn't keen to get too deep into his tactical analysis of Tyrone but repeated their recent running tally and outlined how "the games have been really competitive for the last couple of seasons and we expect this will be nothing less.

"Obviously we met this time last year, I know Tyrone were disappointed with their performance and I'm sure they'll look to right that next Saturday.

"They are putting up big big scores now - 7-44 is an impressive tally in two games no matter what. And it's in championship above all things. It's going to be a cracking game."

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