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04th May 2017

The most impressive aspect of Jim Gavin’s management that he doesn’t get enough credit for

Going for five-in-a-row

Conan Doherty

Jim Gavin is in his fifth campaign of managing Dublin now – most guys are run out of town by that stage.

Think about the coaches you’ve had down through the years. Think about how long you could stand them until you eventually got sick of listening to them.

Three years is usually the limit for a lot of managers. After that, you start to hate the sound of their voice, you don’t look forward to going to training as much, and any effect their words might’ve had on you starts to disappear.

It’s only natural. It’s cabin fever, it’s familiarity breeding contempt, and it’s just a message becoming repetitive being delivered the same way.

Some people have managed to avoid going stale though and, not only that, they’ve managed to continuously reinvent themselves. Or at least make it seem that way to the players.

As Gavin prepares for a tilt at three championships in a row, the Dublin camp seems as fresh as ever. We all raised eyebrows at the county’s 23-strong backroom team that helped deliver the 2016 title but they’ve probably been crucial in keeping the manager’s ideas coming across as optimally as possible.

“It’s a bit like Cody with Kilkenny – the skill that they have is keeping everybody on that squad happy,” even Colm Parkinson had nice things to say about Gavin on The GAA Hour podcast.

“The talent is there but I don’t want to diminish the managers’ jobs because they have loads of talent.

“Jim Gavin wouldn’t win anything with Laois, for example, he’s not going to turn water into wine but managing those players and keeping that squad of 30 happy and playing loads of good football – and let’s not pretend like Dublin don’t have tactics and a great game plan – he’s doing all of that.

“He’s going for five-in-a-row I think – we know what you’re at, Jim.”

Players can get sick of working under the same regime and hearing the same nonsense unless they’re managed well. One of the hardest things for a manager to do – but it could prove one of the most effective things – is to delegate.

Delegate or risk going stale and predictable.

“When I was captain of Portlaoise in 2004, I was very conscious of talking all the time,” Parkinson said.

“The captain would always talk the night before in the meeting and then he’d talk in the warm-up and then he’d talk in the huddle.

“In the huddle, I always asked one of the other fellas to talk. I can’t be talking that much, that kind of way. Jesus, there’s only so much you can say, it’s repetitive.”

Listen to the full discussion on Jim Gavin from 6:45 below – it isn’t all positive!