Gavin defends side after high free count

Jim Gavin maintains frustration — and not cynicism — was behind Dublin’s high foul count in the closing stages of Sunday’s All-Ireland final.

Gavin defends side after high free count

The victorious manager pointed to Rory O’Carroll’s 61st-minute yellow card for what he deemed a fair shoulder on Enda Varley as one of the reasons for his players’ annoyance.

Three other Dublin players — Darren Daly for a flying upper body tackle on Varley, Kevin McManamon for hauling down Lee Keegan and Ger Brennan for a high foul on Ger Cafferkey — were also booked late in the game.

Gavin, who stated after the game Dublin had to play the referee as well as Mayo, reasoned the indiscipline was a by-product of a series of incorrect decisions which had gone against his team.

“That was the frustration of the Dublin players boiling through and coming to the surface. Rory O’Carroll was a case in point. I saw it again and it looked a good shoulder on shoulder tackle. The Mayo players didn’t seem to make a big deal of it, they played on but then the referee blew for a free and gave him a yellow card. That was a bit strange.”

There were several instances in the latter stages when Dublin deliberately

attempted to hold up the game, such as McManamon’s foul on Keegan and Bernard Brogan holding up the ball after conceding a free.

“Bernard was messing with the ball and the ball was rightly brought up [13 metres] and they got a free from it,” said Gavin. “We’ve always said to players that if there’s any back chat to referees, bring the ball up, any of that messing bring the ball up. We were rightly punished by that indiscipline by one of the players when he tapped the ball away and the ball was moved up. We needed to see more of that. All that pulling players down, next year hopefully those players will see the line.”

Gavin had also said the 32-12 free count in favour of Mayo was the latest in a long line this year that had gone against them. He claimed Brogan had not been given his fair share of frees this season.

“We get analysis back from our analysis team after every game. We look at every free we give away and see why did we give it away and how can we try to improve.

“Was it a tactical error where guys were overloaded with men or a technical error where the guy got psychologically lazy and put a hand in or physically he couldn’t catch the guy and tripped him up?

“We looked at in detail the frees that are given away and try to improve on it. Some you’d say that shouldn’t be a free and there was nothing untoward.

“It’s probably on the opposite [opponent’s] side of the pitch where Bernard Brogan foundit difficult to buy a free all season.

“We’ve had very few frees all season within the scoring zone against opposition teams. For whatever reason I don’t know.”

Gavin admitted he wouldn’t have claimed referees were awarding the lion’s share of frees against Dublin had they lost on Sunday.

“In defeat it’s not the place to be saying it so we were never going to bring it up before this unless we were in a position where we could mention it.”

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