Dublin are into their fifth straight All-Ireland final thanks to a masterful second half slaughtering of Mayo in Croke Park this evening.
The five-in-a-row chasing champions were put to the pin of their collars by James Horan’s side in the opening 35 minutes but came out roaring in the second half to eventually win on a scoreline of 3-14 to 1-10 thanks to two goals from Con O’Callaghan and one from Brian Fenton.
Following the win, Jim Gavin expressed his delight at getting over the line against an outstanding team such as Mayo.
“Obviously, we’re very pleased first and foremost that we got the result today. Semi-finals are there to be won and we’re just very grateful and thankful that we got the result. Overall we’ve got to be satisfied with the performance. There are great learnings in each game that we play and we’ll certainly take a lot of learnings from that game. The players themselves are a very humble group, they prepared really well for the opposition, we obviously know Mayo very well now the last couple of years and understand what an outstanding team they are.
“That shone through in how we adapted during the game as well. Obviously the start of the second half we got a couple of scores on the run which was very pleasing but they were very good team scores some really good skill execution.”
Mayo were the better team throughout most of the first half and deservedly led by 0-8 to 0-6 at the break. However, Dublin scored 2-6 without reply in the second half to effectively seal the game with 20 minutes still to be played.
Despite the apparent lacklustre nature to their first-half performance, Gavin conceded that the half time team talk consisted of telling the players to just “keep doing what you are doing”.
“The message at half time, to be honest, was to keep doing what you are doing. It’s an All-Ireland semi-final against an outstanding team and I think both defences were on top in the first half, there were some great defensive plays and some great tackling by both sides.
“The game naturally enough, opens up and we just asked the players just to back themselves, to believe in the skills that they have and try to be true to that and that’s what they did and that’s were those scores came from and that came from the learning in the first half and I think they showed great adaptability in the game.”
The Dublin manager didn’t agree that his side was off the pace in the first half although he did admit that Mayo were probably a bit more “battle-hardened”.
“I need to look back on that. I thought it was nip and tuck and obviously, they’ve had a number of games. They are probably a bit more battle-hardened than us. That’s probably just an excuse, to be honest, they are a good team.
“So I think you might be searching for something there that possibly isn’t there, I think I would just put it down to Mayo’s class, they performed really well in those opening exchanges and again I think our players adapted to those circumstances really, really well.”
Overall, Gavin puts today’s success down to the players and their game intelligence which was able to adapt to Mayo’s game plan in the second half.
The Dublin manager admitted that it was a player-driven team and that he and his management set-up are just hanging on their coattails.
“Their game intelligence is really high and we put all the trust in them. It’s a part of them. As a coach and management team we can’t play the game for them, we just give them the framework and they go out and execute their skillset and it is up to them to do that.
“This is very much a player-driven team. Make no mistake about it, we’re very much in their coattails and they’re leading this side and our role in all of this is just to enable them and to empower them to do their best and if we can do that, no matter who you come against, that’s all you ever ask for.