Jim Gavin vows to learn from Dubs' defeat
Sky Blues boss accepts blame for semi loss as he seeks better 'balance' in 2015
JIM Gavin yesterday issued something of a public mea culpa for Dublin's defeat by Donegal in the All-Ireland semi-final.
In the first significant media appearance of anyone from inside the dethroned All-Ireland champions' camp since the day their back-to-back ambitions were ruthlessly ended by Jim McGuinness team, the Dublin manager used a promotional appearance for sponsors AIG in Parnell Park to "accept full responsibility for that performance".
"And I accept full responsibility for the philosophy and for the way Dublin play their football," he continued, after widespread comment that Dublin's dedication to a predominantly attack-orientated game-plan had ultimately been to their detriment.
"For the attacking style we play and, sometimes, for the vulnerability that it brings, and the unpredictability of it."
Significantly though, Gavin stressed: "One result doesn't affect my resolve or the players' resolve. One result won't change the core philosophy of how Dublin play football."
Though he did accept some adjustment was now required, pointing out that under his watch and employing his tactical methods, "if you go through the National Leagues, the Leinster competition and the All-Ireland competition, they've won five out of six."
Gavin accepted that the implementation of a more "balanced" set-up would be examined ahead of their bid to reclaim Sam Maguire in 2015.
Asked what he would do differently had he the chance, Gavin explained: "I would get a better balance between defence and attack.
"We have a core strategy of attacking football. I accept the responsibility that the vulnerability that that expression brings was exploited. But I certainly wouldn't stray away from that philosophy. It's getting the balance between defence and attack.
"What I need to do and what we need to do is get that balance between our attacking philosophy," he added, "which is quite strong and our defensive one, which needs to be worked on."
His words represent a something of a digression for Gavin, who has always preached from the book of tradition, namely that Dublin teams have historically played the game on the front foot.
There was, however, almost an acceptance now that his team had taken that philosophy to its extreme.
Yet up until the Donegal defeat, Gavin had been lauded nationally as something of a pioneer, both for Dublin's style and the excellence with which they had executed it.
Asked specifically about Dublin's defence of Paul Durcan's long second-half kick-outs, from which multiple chances spawned, Gavin explained: "Well, we won those kick-out in the first 20 minutes of the game, we were very dominant on their kick-out.
"A couple of things happened that the manager accepts responsibility for because things weren't communicated to the players.
"A couple of things happened in that game and they got a bit of a run.
"They got the goal at opportune times either side of half-time and they punished us," he added.
"They're the learning points for me."