First some cupboard tidying. Dublin manager Jim Gavin didn’t only scoff afterwards at reports that Jason Sherlock had left his management set-up – he encouraged anyone yet to watch the “excellent” Jayo documentary, purportedly central to his ‘departure’, to do so.
“If you can watch that documentary without getting emotional then you’ve a heart of stone,” Gavin said.
— RTÉ GAA (@RTEgaa) December 20, 2018
Sherlock was with the Dublin squad Saturday in Tralee, Gavin happy to confirm that a report on Friday indicating otherwise was “not in the slightest” bit true.
“How journalists report on conjecture, that’s your profession, not mine. So I can’t comment (beyond) that. The documentary was excellent, if you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend it. Jason was very brave to do what he did, and we are very proud of him. It’s well worth viewing.”
And the claims that a Diarmuid Connolly return to arms was imminent? And that he was already in one on one fitness sessions with Bryan Cullen? “Absolutely not, I can confirm that’s not the case (training with Bryan Cullen).”
The Dublin manager wasn’t quite as dismissive of the one-point defeat to Kerry, but the long-term benefits of same clearly outweighed thesting on Saturday.
“To be four weeks back and to get a game like that so early in the season, it’ll bring us on a ton,” he said. “You are disappointed primarily for the supporters who’ve travelled, but you take it in context, where we are at, and it’s another step in our journey to get us ready for championship.
“Football’s an easy game to bring down, but there’s some fantastic players there tonight, the skill and fitness levels, compared to previous decades, are much higher. We have a great product, I believe one of the best fields sports on the globe.”
He added: “To be five points and a man down, we finished really strong, which is very pleasing. We are only four weeks back and Kerry have a lot of work done. The fitness levels would be very different.”
Gavin felt Mick Fitzsimons’ second yellow card “wasn’t even a free” but accepted that for parts of the first half, Dublin’s efficiency wasn’t good enough.
Kerry manager Peter Keane felt his young players thrived on taking on football’s ‘top dogs’ in Tralee. He’s learning very quickly about his young prospects that he can “throw them in there,” he added.
“We are a new management, we got on a train and it’s rolling along very very quickly. If you take the last three games, there’s only been one training session every week, so there’s not a lot (of extra work) you can do. Only by throwing them in can you find out about lads and some of them have done well and shown great energy, heart and spirit.”
Gavin O’Brien was the latest Kerry player to make his first competitive start. The manager said he looks “a good scopey player, with good hands, good legs. He wasn’t overawed and interestingly, he didn’t come through any development squad.”