For a start, the man who kicked the 72nd minute winning point at Parnell Park to send DCU into next weekend’s semi-finals alongside Meath is a true blue, Ballymun Kickhams midfielder Davy Byrne.
He operated at centre-back yesterday and did such a fine job that he helped himself to 1-2 and the man-of-the-match award.
Still, Gavin was hardly smiling afterwards as he reflected on his team’s first competitive defeat since last year’s Allianz League final loss to Tyrone.
A clash with the old enemy Meath would have been perfect preparation for the Dubs ahead of their Allianz League opener with Kerry.
To compound matters, key forward Paul Flynn will now miss that crucial game against Kerry after being red carded in a frantic finale.
The former DCU student was sanctioned by referee David Gough for an apparent off the ball strike with three minutes to go.
In truth, Rory O’Carroll’s earlier loss after receiving a 61st minute black card was more significant in terms of the result.
In the absence of the star full-back, Dublin’s defence was subsumed by a wave of DCU attacks which yielded 1-5 and narrowly won them the game.
Micheal McCarthy, who shot DCU’s third goal in the 63rd minute, helping them recover from a six point deficit, is also a Dubliner who has played for his county before.
As for the three-week lay-off now for Dublin instead of the competitive action that many expected, Gavin said it is something he has prepared for.
“We have a standby plan, as you always do, so we’ll just implement that now,” he said. “There is great competition within the squad so we will use those internal games to our benefit. It’s always disappointing to lose a game. But in terms of our work ethic, it was excellent. I think both teams would have learned a lot from it. DCU are a very well conditioned team, very well coached. And they were deserving winners in the end.
“But for myself, we gave a lot of guys opportunities in the last three games, which is what it’s all about. It’s a pre-season tournament. It was a good physical workout as well. So to that end, all our objectives were achieved.”
Gavin has a difficult task now to revise his panel for the defence of the league title. Several players have impressed during their Group D campaign and will fancy their chances of staying on.
Cormac Costello was best yesterday with five points, three coming as Dublin fought back from a slow start to level at half-time, 0-6 to 1-3.
Two more from Costello and a productive afternoon for Paul Hudson helped Dublin into a 0-15 to 2-3 lead before their late implosion.
Darragh Nelson didn’t feature but was effective against Westmeath and Louth while Daniel Watson came on again.
Watson shot 2-1 against Louth last Wednesday and hit another point yesterday which, for a while, looked like it would be the winner.
But that honour eventually went to DCU’s Byrne who coach Mick Bohan hopes is rewarded with a call up.
“In fairness to Davy, look at the point he put over the bar to win the game, he’s a warrior,” said Bohan. “He’s a guy you certainly want in that arena. If you even look at the moment, fellas like Dean Rock and James McCarthy are there. It would be great to see Davy possibly involved with Dublin again this year.”
Scorers for DCU: D Byrne 1-2, C McGraynor 1-1, M McCarthy 1-0, G Kelly 0-3 (0-2f), C McHugh (0-1f) and S Oates (0-1f) 0-1 each.
Scorers for Dublin: C Costello (0-1f) and P Hudson (0-3f) 0-5 each, K McManamon 0-2, J Whelan, E Fanning, S Carthy (0-1 45) and D Watson 0-1 each.
DCU: J Farrelly (Cavan); W Lowry (Dublin), C Dunleavy (Dublin), C Cafferkey (Roscommon); P Dooney (Monaghan), D Byrne (Dublin), E Murray (Galway); E O’Connor (Louth), B Donnelly (Louth); M Quinn (Longford), P Fox (Meath), F O’Shea (Cork); C McHugh (Dublin), C McGraynor (Wicklow), D Wrynn (Leitrim).
Subs: J Smith (Dublin) for O’Shea (ht), T Flynn (Galway) for Lowry (46), F Kelly (Roscommon) for Murray (47), G Kelly (Dublin) for Fox (52), S Oates (Roscommon) for McHugh (58), M McCarthy (Dublin) for Donnelly (61).
DUBLIN: S Currie; M Fitzsimons, R O’Carroll, S George; E Lowndes, B Cullen, D Daly; D O’Mahony, S Carthy; H Dawson, P McMahon, J Whelan; P Hudson, K McManamon, C Costello.
Subs: E Fanning for Dawson h/t, D Watson for McManamon 48, K Nolan for Fitzsimons 51, C Walsh for O’Mahony 53, P Flynn for Carthy 53, N McGovern for O’Carroll, black card 61.
Referee: D Gough (Meath).