GAA Football

History-maker Jim Gavin excited about the future for Dublin after ending drive for five

Dublin celebrate after their historic win over Kerry in Saturday's All-Ireland final replay. Pic Philip Walsh.
Andy Watters

HISTORY was made, the elusive five in-a-row completed for the first time ever and (look away now rivals) Dublin manager Jim Gavin says he is “excited about the future”.

Saturday’s six-point win over Kerry means Sam Maguire will winter in the capital for yet another year and Gavin – although he tried his damnedest not to say so – will make the famous trophy a permanent resident on the Liffey if he can.

The Clondalkin clubman has signed up for the 2020 season and his Boys in Blue (Who can argue that they are not the best side ever to play our game?) will be the team to beat again.

“I’m excited about the future,” said a relaxed Gavin after Saturday evening’s historic win.

“Look at today, the players that didn’t travel. Darren Daly, Rory O’Carroll, Eoghan O’Gara, Conor McHugh, Sean Bugler, Peadar O’Coffey-Byrne, Killian O’Connor, Anthony McGowan, Michael Shields…

“They are talented players who want to play for the county and who are as motivated as ever to go again next year. The U20s (All-Ireland finalists) had a nice campaign, there is some nice talent there, the club championship starts in two weeks’ time and there are some players I am interested to look at there…

“You’re excited to see today and excited to look on the horizon.”

Naturally reserved, Gavin is not the type of manager to come into a press conference drenched in champagne and punching the air but he was in good form, as you’d expect, after Saturday’s historic win.

“That (history being made) is a fact,” he added.

“I’m not denying it’s a fact and it’s great for the county.

“But our primary aim was to get a performance today – I’m not trying to dismiss it (the five in-a-row) in any shape or form because it’s phenomenal for Dublin GAA for this to happen.

“But when you’re going into a game like this you have to get your game right and that’s what delivers a performance like you saw today and the result is the outcome of that. It’s a fantastic honour for Dublin.

“I know how much it meant to the people who support the team. There was great expectation going into it and I’m just delighted for the players really. When there was questions asked of them they were able to come up with the answers. First and foremost, you’re just so happy for them and for the Dublin clubs and the schools that developed those players because when we get them we just add a bit of polish.

“The phenomenal work that goes in at Cumman na Bunscoil from teachers who devote their time, the club members and the games promotions officers who put 30-40 hours a week in the communities to co-ordinate it all.

“To see the fruits of their labour – it probably doesn’t touch on these players – but there’s a generation coming behind them and that is a vital component of it.”

Other counties will look on with envy at the vast support network Gavin enjoys and the Dublin manager also paid tribute to his “outstanding backroom team”

“From the medical side to the statisticians, from Bryan Cullen and the S&C, the athletic development of the players and the most important person is David O’Byrne, my kit man, who does Trojan work for us,” he explained.

“Davey Hendricks looks after all our facilities, Shane O’Hanlon does logistics and then on the coaching side Paul Clarke, Declan D’Arcy and Jason Sherlock are just phenomenal. I’m just part of that team.

“I really have a strong team behind me and the county board are phenomenal as well.”

There will of course be speculation that Bernard Brogan (an unused substitute on Saturday) and Stephen Cluxton could have reached the end of the road but Gavin sees no “natural end of the road” for any of his players.

History was made but it is history now and Gavin looks to the future. That’s how he works.

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