Dublin: 2°C Thursday 2 December 2021

Champions again -- but Dublin's thoughts immediately turn to next challenge

Dublin boss Jim Gavin feels there’s plenty of work to be done before his Leinster champions return to action in three weeks’ time.

Ciaran Kilkenny and Paul Mannion celebrate with the Delaney Cup.
Ciaran Kilkenny and Paul Mannion celebrate with the Delaney Cup.
Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

JIM GAVIN DECLARED “Phase One” complete as Dublin clinched their latest Leinster title — and then immediately started plotting the improvements that will take them all the way to Sam Maguire in September.

The Dubs’ All-Ireland odds shortened again to 7/4 last night after they showed their superior staying power to beat Meath by seven points, 2-15 to 0-14.

The win wrapped up another unbeaten provincial campaign for Dublin who took home the Delaney Cup for the eighth time in nine seasons and booked their place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

That next outing will come in three weeks’ time on the August Bank Holiday weekend, most likely as part of a double-header in Croke Park after the Boys in Blue pulled in a crowd of 54,485 — the largest attendance of the summer so far.

Mick O’Dowd’s Meath presented their toughest test yet and the Dubs trailed by two points after a first half in which they were limited to just 1-4.

Though they rallied and then pulled away in the final quarter, Gavin still feels his players have more to offer.

He said: “I’m happy with the result. The performance? No.

I’ve spoken at length about how we’re trying to achieve a consistency in our display but we met very good opposition today in Meath and they certainly asked a lot of questions, hard questions of this Dublin football team and I thought they were all answered.

I thought the team showed great resolve and great heart and commitment to stick at it and to come through the wave after wave of attacks that Meath presented. It’s been a good day in that regard.

It was the first time since the league game against Donegal in April that Dublin trailed at half-time but Gavin insisted that they didn’t get too hung up on the scoreline, or even discuss it.


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Whatever was said in the dressing room worked and Dublin hared out of the traps to take five of the first six scores after the break, ultimately putting up a second-half total of 1-11 to Meath’s 0-5.

(©INPHO/Morgan Treacy)

“We don’t get too upset about it,” Gavin said. “It’s a 70-minute game.

Being behind wasn’t mentioned at all at half-time at all, I don’t think. It’s about our performance and what we can do.

“We can’t worry about the opposition in those terms. It’s about how we can improve our game. It’s never mentioned at half-time how much we’re up or down.”

He added: “The guys kept playing the football that we’re trying to instill in them and eventually we broke through and the gaps began to appear and we exploited them.

The same 15 that started the first half came out in the second half. The players know themselves when they’re not performing but they weren’t let perform. Meath played very, very well and all credit needs to go to them in that regard.

‘Devastated’ Meath take no heart from Dubs defeat

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Niall Kelly

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