Gavin: Only strong will survive

Dublin 4-15 Louth 0-10

Gavin: Only strong will survive

But just as his Dublin team were emphatic in their disposal of Louth, so too was he in his analysis of making the cull – only the strongest will survive.

“It’s simply black and white. It’s the guys who perform who will get the slots. Guys who aren’t go back to the clubs.”

Gavin made light of the margin against an experimental Louth team but then his own side weren’t exactly familiar, showing 10 changes to the team that lost last September’s All-Ireland semi-final to Mayo.

Over their four O’Byrne Cup games, Gavin used 31 players. That figure excludes the likes of James McCarthy and Philly McMahon with Ballymun Kickhams, Ciaran Kilkenny with Castleknock and Paul Flynn at DCU.

And he admits those involved with colleges and clubs are at a slight disadvantage, even though he fully endorses preparations for Sigerson Cup and All-Ireland club championships.

“The downside for them (in college) is that they’re not with me day-in, day-out and the same for the Ballymun Kickham guys.

“It’s great to see them in a semi-final coming up very shortly but the downside for them is that they’re not with us in the camp.

“It’s pretty straightforward – it’s the guys who perform well for their colleges, their club or their county gets the slots.”

Yesterday’s game effectively ended as a contest in the 22nd minute when Emmet Ó Conghaile pounced on a freak mistake by Louth goalkeeper Sean Connor to lob the ball into the net for Dublin’s third goal and push them 12 ahead.

Prior to that, Bernard Brogan had goaled twice in the space of a minute, his first in the ninth minute coming on the end of a neat move involving Paddy Andrews and Declan O’Mahoney; the second a flashing if slightly deflected shot past Connor after a Diarmuid Connolly line ball into the centre.

With Dublin’s midfield so much on top and Brogan and Jack McCaffrey starring, the visitors grabbed a fourth goal in first half injury-time to lead 4-8 to 0-7 at the break, Paul Hudson palming the ball home.

Louth threatened to reduce the deficit to a single digit figure in the second-half . However, Jim McEneaney’s 48th minute free was their last score of the game as Dublin, bringing in the auxiliaries, were content to take their points.

Even if Louth’s four-game O’Byrne Cup campaign ended in a comprehensive defeat, manager Aidan O’Rourke garnered plenty from it.

“Today was not a day for taking risks. We’ve two weeks to prepare for the National League and it was much more important for us to find out about the fellas who are slightly beyond the first 15 in terms of how hard they can compete.

“ This was about finding out about the bottom half of the squad and whether fellas are capable of getting themselves into the first 15 or maybe dropping out the bottom end.”

Scorers for Dublin: B Brogan 2-7 (0-6f); E O’Conghaile 1-1; P Hudson 1-0; J McCaffrey 0-2; S Cluxton (45), P Andrews, P Quinn, D Connolly, C Costello 0-1 each.

Scorers for Louth: J McEneaney 0-5 (3f); D Reid 0-2; C Rafferty, S McCann, D O’Connor 0-1 each.

DUBLIN: S Cluxton; D Daly, T Brady, D Nelson; C Guckian, G Brennan, J McCaffrey; D O’Mahony, D Bastick; E O’Conghaile, D Connolly, P Quinn; P Hudson, P Andrews, B Brogan.

Subs: S Carthy for O’Mahony, P Mannion for Andrews (both h-t); P Burke for Quinn (45); C Costello for Connolly (55); D Byrne for Brennan (57); K McManamon for Hudson (blood 66).

LOUTH: S Connor; J Carr, B Mulligan, J Bingham; A Reid, L Shevlin, D Byrne; C Rafferty, R Carroll; R Moore, J McEneaney, S McCann; D Reid, E O’Connor, D O’Connor.

LOUTH: J O’Brien for Byrne (blood 15-16); O’Brien for Moore (23); G Hoey for Mulligan, D Crilly for Byrne (both h-t); P Sheelan for McCann (45); C McGuinness for Rafferty (54).

Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).

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