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Jim Gavin wasn't surprised to see sparks fly between Dublin and Donegal

Gavin’s Dubs overcome McManamon red in an ill-tempered renewal of Donegal rivalry.

Eoghan O'Gara clashes with Ryan McHugh, left, and Eamonn McGee.
Eoghan O'Gara clashes with Ryan McHugh, left, and Eamonn McGee.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

DUBLIN MANAGER JIM Gavin praised his players’ discipline after last night’s fiery clash with Donegal in Croke Park.

The Dubs played the last 25 minutes with 14 men after Kevin McManamon was sent off for a second yellow card.

They made light of their numerical disadvantage as Jack McCaffrey sealed a 2-10 to 0-11 win with a sensational strike seven minutes from the end.

The physicality threatened to boil over more than once but Gavin said: ”It was about both teams going hard at it.

They’re a physical side and so are we and when two physical teams come together that’s the outcome so no, I wasn’t surprised at all.

“From a Dublin perspective I thought we showed very good discipline and very good shape and were in control for the game and as a result we got the performance and the two points.

“When one team players defensive football and one team plays attacking football the two collide sometimes and that’s the fall-out.

“We’re very happy with how our players held their discipline and I’m satisfied with how we performed.”

After last week’s narrow defeat in Cork, Dublin got their bid for a third straight Division 1 title off the mark at the second time of asking.

They now have a three-week break before their trip to face Kerry in Killarney on 1 March, which sparks a run of three games in 14 days.

That stretch is likely to make or break the campaign but Gavin stressed again that his focus is on performances, not points.

“We came away last week knowing we had only performed well in patches but there was great learning,” he said.

Again this evening the performance was what we were after and the two points were a bonus.

“We gave more game time to players who’ve been pushing hard in the last number of months and that’s pleasing all round.

“To win with 14 men for 25 minutes, there was good mental strength shown in that period to keep our shape and defensively to only concede three points in that 25 minutes.

“I think offensively we also looked threatening in that period with only 14 and that was pleasing.”

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Niall Kelly

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