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Gavin: We played Mayo and the ref


Dublin manager Jim Gavin. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Dublin manager Jim Gavin. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Dublin manager Jim Gavin. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

THERE'S winning it the hard way and then there's what Dublin did.

One by one, as the players made their way from the dressing room, it became clear that inside looked like an episode of M.A.S.H.

Jonny Cooper looked like he'd been hit by a heavyweight boxer, sporting a particularly purple, almost perfectly round lump over his eye. Philly McMahon's was more of a cut than a lump but it's probably safe to say he won't win any beauty pageants this week.

Equally, Rory O'Carroll will hardly remember the last frenetic moments of the match, such was the impact of his clash with Enda Varley and his concussive state.

Eoghan O'Gara limped by on crutches having played the last 10 minutes with a torn hamstring while Michael Darragh MacAuley now requires an X-ray on a suspected broken bone in his foot.

Walking wounded doesn't even begin to cover it.

"We were defending with 13 men," admitted Jim Gavin, "but that's a tribute to their resolution that they worked their way through it. We did a few tactical moves on the sideline but essentially it was all their work."

Much was made of Joe McQuillan's appointment as referee after his performance in the 2011 All-Ireland and Gavin was scathing of him afterwards.

"Not only were we playing Mayo but we were playing the referee as well," he said.

"That free count (32-12 against Dublin) is just not acceptable," he continued. "We play the game with certain values in the squad and we play the game the way we believe it should be played and to have that amount, 32 to 12 (frees). At the end, that was just Dublin players getting frustrated.

"For the whole game, there is a double count going against us. All the time. And it's not only today. We probably held our counsel for most of the games but that has been the trend in all the games."

Asked how yesterday compared to his All-Ireland as a player in 1995, Gavin explained: "No comparison. Absolutely none. It's all about the players. We take a player-centred approach to it and we are just facilitating their hopes and ambitions. They set the agenda most of the time and we are on their coat-tails the last few weeks so it is all on them.

"The minute the referee blows the final whistle, that's when the 2013 season ends. I know from speaking to other managers, they're already setting up for the 2014 championship," Gavin concluded.

"We're probably behind now already."

With that sort of attitude, they won't be long about catching up.