Jim Gavin believes Dublin’s familiarity with Mayo helped them to size them up in this evening’s All-Ireland semi-final.
In what was the counties’ seventh Championship meeting this decade, Dublin had been two points down before their stunning 2-6 without reply in the third quarter and Gavin commended his players for how they transformed themselves in that period.
“The players themselves are a very humble group, they prepared really well for the opposition. We obviously know Mayo very well over the last couple of years and understand what an outstanding team that they are. I think that shone through in how we adapted during the game.
“In the second half we got a couple of scores on the run, which was very pleasing but I think they were very good team scores, good skill execution, some great high-fielding, great hand-passing and kick-passing and that obviously shines upon the player who executes the score but I think there was some great team moves there and some great team play and I think that’s what you look for from the players.”
The faith he showed in the starting team was repaid a few times over.
Their game intelligence is really high, we put all the trust in them and we empower them. As a coach and management team, we can’t play the game for them. We just give them the framework and it’s up to them to go out and execute their skillset.
“This is very much a player-driven team. We are very much on their coattails and they’re leading this out. Our role in all of this is to enable them and empower them to be the best and if we can do that no matter who you come up against that’s all you can ever ask for.”
Gavin made no changes at half-time and was reasonably satisfied with how the team performed in the first half despite being two points down. “The message at half-time was to keep doing what you’re doing.
This is an All-Ireland semi-final against an outstanding team and I think both defences were on top in the first half. There was some great defensive plays, great tackling by both sides.
“Naturally enough, the game opens up and we asked the guys to back themselves and believe in the skill-sets that they have and try and be true to that and that’s what they did and that’s where the scores came from. I think they showed great adaptability in the game so overall we were pleased to get over the game.”
He disagreed with the suggestion Mayo were sharper in that first period. “I need to look back on that. I thought it was nip and tuck. Obviously, they had a number of games and probably a little more battle-hardened but that’s probably just an excuse.
“They’re a good team. I think you might be searching for something there that possibly isn’t there. I would put that down to Mayo’s class. They performed really well in those opening exchanges and again the guys adapted to those circumstances really well. I thought we showed good game composure to stay in the game and to push on when required.”