Dublin boss Jim Gavin made more changes to this starting team before Saturday night’s 2-26 to 0-14 demolition of Roscommon in the Super 8s tie at Croke Park, then defended his right to change.
Gavin has drawn a lot of criticism this summer for naming his first 15 late, then making changes before throw-in in big games but feels the rules need to be altered, not his behavior.
“We have to name the team earlier on in the week. We’re dealing with amateur players, and we’re all amateurs, we all volunteer our time for the association, so if there is a rule imposed in having to submit a list of players a number of days before a game, that’s probably to be expected,” insisted Gavin.
One player who didn’t make the matchday squad in any guise was the talismanic Diarmuid Connolly, back on the panel after a proposed summer move to Boston fell through with a visa issue.
Gavin insists Connolly could play this summer and said, “I think we’ve been consistent, saying any player who’s playing well with their club and who wants to come into the squad, if they’re invited, they’ll always be welcome.
“That goes for any player. We were out again looking at games on Wednesday night. Obviously the under-20 game on Friday night. Some good performances there too. So, it’s very much an open-door policy.”
Roscommon was never in contention against the free-flowing Dubs on Saturday night as manager Anthony Cunningham recognized when he spoke to the media afterward.
“It was a harsh lesson there in the first half. Huge, huge variety in Dublin’s game. Huge pace, huge physicality. For us, it’s all in a day’s learning,” said Cunningham, who had Conor Daly sent off.
“But I think they showed character and came out there and chipped away with some good passages of play in the second half.”