Dublin steamrolled their way into the Leinster final and a showdown with Meath as they blew Kildare apart in a 4-16 to 1-9 semi-final win at Croke Park on Sunday.
Kildare took an early 1-2 to no score lead thanks to a Paddy Brophy goal but that was just the wake-up call Dublin needed.
They grabbed goals from Paul Mannion and Bernard Brogan to lead by 2-7 to 1-5 at halftime and never looked back as Diarmuid Connolly and Eoghan O’Gara netted after the break.
The Dubs will start the Leinster final as red hot favorites, but manager Jim Gavin was at pains to insist his team will take it one step at a time in his post match press conference on Sunday.
“It won’t be driven by me, the players will keep it down themselves and they’re well used to and accustomed to playing within that environment of expectation on Dublin teams and this year is no different,” he said.
“They’re well accustomed to focusing on the next game and we haven’t even looked at the Leinster final, we only chatted about it there a few moments ago.
“It wasn’t even on our radar. Kildare was for the last number of weeks and it will shift now to Meath and it has already. The players don’t need to be told what damage expectations can do if they get carried away.
“I’m not a betting man, never have been, I don’t do to the bookie gig at all. It’s a two-horse race so either team could win on the day.”
Gavin also denied that Dublin’s performance on Sunday was any better than anything previously seen in his short reign.
He added, “I wouldn’t say that. We always have areas to improve on. Certainly, there were some nice passages of play and some well-constructed scores but we’re always looking for improvement and it’s not coming from me, it’s coming from the players.
“They’ll drive it on. We were looking for a result today and we got it. Coming into the game, we always knew it was really going to be nip and tuck and we didn’t expect to have the day like we had at the end of the game.
“We expected a very competitive game and the first couple of minutes showed it. Their full-forward line looked very potent and lethal. It took our full-back line a while to adjust but when they did they got on top.
“Throughout the game, there are a multitude of tactical switches, inter-player switches on the field or bringing different guys on to bring a different flavor to the game. That’s part and parcel.
“Kildare had a lot of changes in their side from what they listed and they had a lot of younger players on their side so they were probably adjusting as well.
“We got the scores on the board so we have to give the credit to the Dublin forwards for doing that. There were some nicely constructed passages of play and the defense backed them up as well.
“The game is played over the parameter of 70 minutes so it’s not won until the 70th minute, it’s not won in the first minute.”
Kildare boss Kieran McGeeney admitted afterwards that it will be difficult to raise his players for the qualifiers when they will host Louth in Naas on Saturday, July 13.
“It’s going to be tough. There is no point in saying otherwise. We are after coming off 14-point tanking in the second half. It’s going to be hard to lift them,” McGeeney said.
“I could be very bravado here and give you loads of headlines but there is not much point in telling you otherwise that the next two weeks are going to be tough. It will be the biggest job that I’ve had since I come here.”
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