Dublin manager Jim Gavin was magnanimous in defeat as he reflected on his side’s surprise 3-14 to 0-17 All-Ireland SFC semi-final loss to Donegal.

The Dubs’ hopes of winning back-to-back All-Irelands were crushed by Jim McGuinness’ men at Croke Park, with Ryan McHugh (2-2) and Colm McFadden (1-3) emerging as the scoring heroes.

“We were just beaten by a better Donegal team on the day. There’s a lot of disappointment in that Dublin dressing room, but Donegal performed over the full expanse of the game and full credit to them,” Gavin told RTÉ in the aftermath.

“We started well and in the first quarter of the game we put ourselves in a very commanding position, five points up.
“Credit to Donegal, they came back hard at us and went up a point at half-time and pushed on from there. We can’t have any complaints in that regard.”

It was the first Championship defeat of Gavin’s 20-month managerial reign which has included two Allianz League titles, two Leinster Championship crowns and last September’s Sam Maguire Cup success.

Such was the ease of their passage through to the last-four this summer, Dublin were hot favourites to beat all-comers and retain the All-Ireland.
Indeed, at one stage during Sundays first half when Paul Flynn was in brilliant shooting form and Paul Durcan’s goal came under pressure, the Dubs’ odds of winning the semi-final shortened to 1/50.

Gavin’s charges were thought of as ‘unbeatable’ in some circles, but the Round Towers, Clondalkin clubman dismissed the notion that hype and high expectation levels were a factor in their disappointing display.

“What people say about the team externally we don’t have any control or influence over. Certainly, from the players’ perspective, their focus was fully on Donegal and it wasn’t beyond that. Complacency was never an issue.”

He added: “The guys will go back to their clubs. Over the coming months we’ll regroup, try and wash up the season and try to learn the lessons from Sunday and move forward.”

In the meantime, Gavin will be an interested spectator when Donegal meet Kerry in a fascinating All-Ireland decider on Sunday, September 21.

“I have the height of respect for Jim (McGuinness) and what he’s achieved. We’ve had some great clashes down the years and we wish them the very best of luck in the All-Ireland final. It’ll be a cracking game between themselves and Kerry and may the best team win.”(

Image Credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

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