They don’t do things in half measures, these Dubs. On Saturday night, as Mayo expressed enough bravado to lead by 0-8 to 0-6 at halftime in their All-Ireland semifinal, Dublin switched on the turbo drive and blew the Westerners away with an unanswered 2-6 inside 12 minutes of the resumption.
On Monday, Dublin boss Jim Gavin and his players held their media night for the Sam Maguire decider, less than 48 hours after the Mayo win and almost three weeks away from the historic final with Kerry that will decide the drive for five.
Normal service on both days? You bet.
This Dublin team goes about its business with no fuss and little pomp. When Mayo threatened that fifth successive All-Ireland title, Con O’Callaghan stepped up with two goals early in the second half to put them back in their box before the brilliant Paul Mannion added the third and the icing on the cake that was a 3-14 to 1-10 win for the champions.
Kerry are next up, the same Kerry who dramatically lost their own five-in-a-row bid to Offaly in a 1982 final that will be forever framed around Seamus Darby’s late and decisive goal. This is of course a very different Kerry team, a coming Kerry team. One that will start as rank outsiders as the Dubs bid for history.
Not that the genial Gavin was bothered by any of the above as he addressed the media on Monday, the memory of that second half blitz still fresh in all their minds. Kerry, he insisted, deserve to be treated with respect on the first Sunday in September.
“Going into the quarterfinal series they still continued good form against Mayo, with 19 attacks and 15 points on the board -- that’s impressive,” Gavin told the GAA media.
“Contrast that then the last day in the semifinal against Tyrone, four points down at halftime and different questions asked of them and they reacted in the appropriate way and finished with aplomb. They’ve had a lot of experience with that core group and their time is right now, it’s not next year.
“They are on the money and we’re going to have to execute a performance to try and be up there with them, and hopefully up there at the end.”
History, past and future tense, won’t matter on that first September Sunday either as far as Gavin is concerned. What happened to Kerry in ’82 and what might happen in ’19 are distractions.
He insisted, “For me, all I’m interested in is the players going out there, trying to be their best and trying to execute their best performance. I have never looked in the past for any motivation, and that’s even internally.”
Many experts are calling those 12 second-half minutes on Saturday the best any Dublin side has ever produced, even before the Gavin era. It’s not a theory he worries about.
“Perfection is a bit like infinity,” said the 1995 All-Ireland winner. “There’s always something in each facet of play that you want to improve upon. We went through a patch in the game where we executed really well, but over the course of the game it will ebb and flow.
“We obviously know Mayo very well over the last couple of years and understand what an outstanding team that they are. I think that shone through in how we adapted during the game.”
A former Air Corps officer, Gavin leaves the hard work to the men in the trenches on match days. And it works.
Speaking on Saturday night, he praised his players for their decision making and said, “Their game intelligence is really high, we put all the trust in them and we empower them. As a coach and management team, we can’t play the game for them. We just give them the framework and it’s up to them to go out and execute their skillset.”
Before he left his post-game media conference, Gavin was asked what he said at the break that turned this game around. There was, he insisted, no hairdryer moment.
“The message at halftime was to keep doing what you’re doing,” stressed Gavin. “This is an All-Ireland semifinal against an outstanding team and I think both defenses were on top in the first half. There was some great defensive plays, great tackling by both sides.
“I think they showed great adaptability in the game so overall, we were pleased to get over the game. That second-half performance came from the learnings of the first half.”