Twenty five years now since Dublin has left the southern capital with league points. Not that Jim Gavin seemed unduly bothered last night.

“We’ve got a squad of players and they need to be given game-time,” Gavin explained, regarding the balance between blooding players and needing an opening day victory.

“They need to experience what elite level football is about — and there’s no better place than to put them in than against Cork, a quality side, and it’s a learning process for them. To experience that intensity — pre-season tournaments can’t replicate that — and you can’t wait until the championship, so it’s about giving guys a chance.”

Gavin made four late changes that may have compromised the visitors’ bid to strike for home in the last 15 minutes, when they could only muster a single point. But that was a price he seemed prepared to pay. “Players need the intensity of Division One football, which isn’t too far off championship level. That will benefit them. They’ll be better prepared for the next challenge. I thought we played well, put ourselves in a very dominant position in the third quarter , and had a goal chance. But the players who represented the county here, that experience will benefit Dublin in the long-term.

“We certainly weren’t chasing the game at any stage. We were in the driving seat for most of it. That was great to see. The patience they showed, some of the scores. There are some technical areas to be brushed up on but the big positive for me coming away from Páirc Uí Rinn was that players who had never represented their county before at National League, they’ve a taste now.”


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