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September 12 2017 4:28 PM
Few managers are as hard to read as Dublin boss Jim Gavin.
His sideline demeanor rarely changes no matter the situation - even if there is confetti falling after an All-Ireland final win.
Dublin are looking to secure a three in-a-row when they take on Mayo this Sunday, and Gavin has a number of selection headaches, especially given the power he has on his bench.
Speaking on this week's episode of The Throw-In, Independent.ie's GAA podcast, Dublin legend Alan Brogan explains how Gavin keeps players in the dark as to whether they are playing until two days before the game, ensuring that even established stars are kept on their toes.
"He won't name the team until Friday night," Brogan says.
"He has been notoriously close with his team - nobody has ever found out his team in the days leading up to it, whether we were playing or we were off. He will tell guys who aren't starting maybe before that last session on Friday, have a quick chat with them and then name the team in the huddle before training on the Friday. In fairness to the Dublin camp, it has been very tight over the last couple of years and I wouldn't expect any information at all to come out until 3.15 on Sunday."
The issue of whether Diarmuid Connolly will come back into the Dublin team has been a big talking point so far this week, with the odds on him not starting now as short as 1/5. Brogan says that Gavin places a lot of stock in internal games, but still rarely tips his hand when he his overseeing one last training match.
"He will keep you guessing, he always throws a curve ball," Brogan says.
"He will play A's vs B's and maybe 13 A's and two guys that won't be named in the team the next week. I presume he does that on purpose to keep guys guessing. It is very rare he plays the 1st 15 in the A's vs B's match. He might change it up at half time. I'm sure Jim knows his team now but I'm sure he will keep them guessing."
Brogan also looked back on his time playing under Gavin, revealing that even as a senior player, the Dublin manager was coy on whether he was in the team or not.
"I often pressed Jim, and when I say press him you would be asking him a couple of questions to see whether he would give you a bit of information on whether you are in or out, but he never revealed anything before the Friday evening."
The former Footballer of the Year was also asked whether Gavin ever loses his cool at Dublin training sessions - and the answer is no surprise.
"In a short answer, no," Brogan said.
"It is very rare that something would happen on the football pitch that would upset him visibly on the outside."