The teen sensation caused a stir last week when he walked out on Aussie Rules side Hawthorn just months into a three-year deal.
Gavin reported that he has beaten hurling manager Anthony Daly to the handshake after yesterday’s O’Byrne Cup loss to Wicklow. He said the 2011 dual All-Ireland minor finalist has put senior football as his ‘priority’.
Gavin managed Kilkenny to an All-Ireland U21 football title in 2012 and spoke to the player before he went public with his news. After shooting three points on his debut against Mayo in the All-Ireland semi-final, he may feature against Cork in their league opener on February 2 at Croke Park.
Asked if Kilkenny will play only football this year, Gavin said: “At the moment, yeah. I heard the word compromise being used. It’s not a case of compromising.
“It’s a case of players making their priorities and his priority at the moment, he said, is football. He is keen to play some U21 hurling as well and I have no issue with that.”
Despite yesterday’s defeat to a strong Wicklow team, Dublin are still through to the O’Byrne Cup semi-finals after two wins from three in Group B and will play Louth, away, next Sunday.
Kilkenny may train with the team this week but won’t be available for the Wee County game due to club activity with Castleknock. And Gavin said the player’s decision to follow his heart and return to play Gaelic football was a huge endorsement of the GAA.
“It’s a great story for the GAA that one of our own can go out the far side of the world, be considered by them and have what it takes to be a professional footballer and then realise that his grá was for Ireland and to come back and play for his parish and his county.”
Dublin could have done with Kilkenny yesterday at Parnell Park. A fine Paul Earls goal and some sumptuous scores from former Mayo forward Austin O’Malley left Harry Murphy’s Wicklow side 1-9 to 0-6 clear at the break. And they finished off the tie with super points from Anthony McLoughlin and Rory Finn.
Scorers for Wicklow: P Earls 1-2, A O’Malley 0-4 (2fs), A McLoughlin 0-2, D Healy, R Finn, B McCrea 0-1 each.
Scorers for Dublin: P Hudson 0-4 (2fs), D O’Mahony 0-2, G Sweeney, D Connolly, P Andrews, R McCarthy 0-1 each.
WICKLOW: J Flynn; D Power, J Kelly, A Byrne; P Cunningham, P MacWalter, P McLoughlin; J Stafford, A McLoughlin; D Healy, R Finn, P Dalton; A O’Malley, P Earls, B McCrea.
Subs: P Woods for Dalton (46), D O’Sullivan for McCrea (46), L Benson for Healy (62), J Sheerin for Earls (71).
DUBLIN: V Whelan; D Byrne, T Brady, D Nelson; E Lowndes, C Guckian, G Seaver; D O’Mahony, C Mullins; E O Conghaile, K McManamon, T Diamond; P Hudson, R McCarthy, G Sweeney.
Subs: G Brennan, J McCaffrey, P Andrews, D Connolly for Brady, Seaver, Diamond Sweeney (ht), S Carthy for Mullins (55), P Quinn for O’Mahony (67).
Referee: P Kneel (Louth).