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Gavin: not a indiscipline Dublin issue

IF RECENT installments are any kind of indication, then tomorrow's meeting of Leinster big-guns Dublin and Kildare in Croke Park should carry a bit of spice in its flavouring.

Yet perception of a lingering discipline problem within the Dublin ranks is, according to Jim Gavin, some yards wide of the mark, despite a third sending off for a straight red card in four games last weekend when Ger Brennan became the latest of his charges to walk the line.

"Mayo had three yellow cards in the game and we had none," Gavin pointed out at yesterday's press briefing before their clash with fellow top-flight 100pc record holders Kildare.

"So it's not indiscipline in the squad. From talking to them and observing them closely, it's not an issue. I'm not going to make excuses about any of them, it's completely unacceptable but I don't see it as an issue."

Initially, Gavin was hesitant to admonish Brennan for his role in the red card, insisting directly after the match that there had been mitigating factors. But having reviewed the incident, it was the ill-advised kick at the ball lying in the hands of a prostrate Michael Conroy which most irked the Dublin manager.

"It's not acceptable," he insisted. "I spoke to Ger afterwards when we reviewed it. Ger accepts the penalty that he received from the CCC.

"I think it's fair. He kicked the ball but the player was on the ground. There is no need for it. In terms of his high forearm, he just stood his ground.

"He was charged by a player. What else was he to do?"

That Brennan will miss just a single game could yet turn out to be the thin end of the wedge, with Gavin explaining that no position will be held vacant for any player, no matter what the reason for their absence.

"Ger was playing well, yeah, I acknowledge that. He was playing very well. But he's lost the position because of indiscipline and he's accepted the penalty he's received from the CCC, so one other player will get a chance this weekend."

When Brennan walked, Cian O'Sullivan was forced to slot back into the centre-back spot but it is likely that his midfield experiment will continue on Sunday.

And that's no bad thing, according to the player himself who has always held a penchant for getting forward from a more defensive position.

"To be honest, it is probably not something that I expected but I played there a few times at under-age and I enjoy it," he explained, having come on for Michael Darragh Macauley in the middle of the park against Cork in round one and starting both of Dublin's victories over Kerry and Mayo in the new haunt.

"To be in the middle third of the pitch is better than being in the corner holding on to some corner-forward's jersey, you get on a bit more ball and you get a bit more involved in the game so I have definitely been enjoying it.

"Ideally you want to set up play and assist the backs, get up and assist the attack when you can.

"That game against Mayo at the weekend we went down to 14 men and I was absolutely off my feet after and that is the kind of way we expect ourselves to feel after games. You aim to leave everything out on the pitch in terms of work-rate."



Of the Kildare rivalry, O'Sullivan isn't exactly expecting fireworks. But with the counties in close proximity this season in league terms and more than likely to clash at some stage during the summer, he acknowledges the simmering tensions.

"I suppose it is something that you always expect between two neighbouring counties, there is always that extra bit of rivalry there," he explained.

"I definitely expect that on Sunday from Kildare, especially when you look back at the last couple of contests we had against each other. They have been hotly contested games and there has been a lot of competition there, so I am expecting the same on Sunday again, especially given the fact that both teams have been going well this year and one of us is going to have to lose that record on Sunday," O'Sullivan concluded.