Farewell to Jim Gavin

When the news broke of Jim Gavin’s stepping down from the role of Dublin Football manager on Saturday it unleashed a wave of admiration that is rare in the departure of a manager.

Gavin throughout his seven years at the helm has exhibited a sense of humility and decency that was reflected in his six All-Ireland winning teams and that stemmed from the man himself.

He was appointed to the role on 1st October 2012, following the resignation due to work commitments of his predecessor Pat Gilroy.

It is likely that this is the same reason, amongst others, why Gavin decided in recent days to call an end to this phase of his GAA life.

He has a senior position within the Irish Aviation Authority as well as a young family and the demands of all three can only be met by an exceptional individual and for a limited period of time.

In terms of his place in the history of Dublin and the GAA though, it may be that the reasons behind the decision will only enhance his reputation.

To become the first person ever to land five Senior Men’s titles in either football or hurling marks him down as the greatest of all time.

There are those who will argue similar status for Brian Cody, Mick O’Dwyer and others but the record shows that Gavin has lifted management to a level never previously seen and in a style that was as much about mental as physical preparation.

Upon his appointment seven years ago he stated that “I would see teams that play with humility. I’ll expect a disciplined approach from all the players, both on and off the field. The goal for me is to create an environment within Dublin football where I can get the best players and get a consistent performance.”

He delivered at every turn and exits now with only one single defeat at Championship level under his tenure.

If he had gone on, he would be adding layers to his reputation but there is always the risk of recency bias and should the team falter, as they inevitably will at some point, then he would have been at risk of being diminished in a way that will not now happen.

He remains a young man and will have opportunities to contribute at the highest level in Gaelic football again but for now, he goes out at the absolute peak of his powers.

Gavin will be present at the Phillips Manager of the Year Awards this week and most likely at the RTÉ Sports Awards on Saturday, 14th December.

He won the former once, back in 2013 and has never been granted the accolade at the latter. It is inconceivable that he will not be hailed at both as the Manager of 2019.

The process of appointing his successor will be handled quickly by John Costello and the team at Dublin GAA. It would appear that Dessie Farrell is the leading candidate, having followed a similar path to Gavin in having managed under age Dublin teams to multiple All Ireland success.

Join us later this week for a special look at a number of digital entities that have grown up around Dublin GAA over recent years.

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