Jim Gavin makes it nine-in-a-row as Dublin boss
Gavin extends his time in charge of Dublin footballers until 2021
Jim Gavin may well end up chasing seven All-Irelands in succession by 2021, if his recent championship record continues.
For a manager who has never once dared look beyond the next game immediately in front of him - let alone the next trophy or the next season - Jim Gavin’s fourth further extension to his Dublin contract, to the end of 2021, comes as something of a surprise.
Typical of Gavin, however, it came without any pressing or expectation, and six days before Christmas.
Gavin last agreed a two-year extension in May 2017, which was due to run out after next year’s championship, but will now remain on until the end of the 2021 season, making it nine seasons in all, presuming he sees that through, or indeed doesn’t agree on yet another extension.
Having taking over from Pat Gilroy at the end of the 2012 season, Gavin’s six seasons to date have been close to perfection: during that time Gavin’s Dublin team have contested 18 major trophies - between the league, the Leinster championship and the All-Ireland - and won 16 of them.
That’s six Leinster titles and five All-Ireland titles, last April’s win over Galway at Croke Park bringing him his fifth league title in charge of Dublin in those six years. His only two defeats between league and championship came in the 2017 league final to Kerry and in the shock 2014 All-Ireland semi-final to Donegal.
The All-Ireland final win over Tyrone last September, Dublin’s first ever four-in-a-row in senior football, thus sets up the quest for the five-in-a-row in 2019, a feat never achieved before by any county in senior football history. Should Dublin complete that five-in-a-row, Gavin may well end up chasing seven in succession by 2021, if his recent championship record continues.
In announcing the extension, Dublin chairman Sean Shanley praised Gavin’s work: “Jim has contributed so much time and hard work on a voluntary basis to the Dublin team and I thank him and his backroom team for their continued efforts and dedication,” he said.
For Gavin, 47, the motivation hasn’t been dented in the six seasons to date: “I’m as motivated as I ever was for the team,” he said during their latest All-Ireland winning campaign. “That was always the motivation, to do my best for those guys. As long as I have the energy, I’ll keep doing it.
“Obviously winning is part of that. But it’s about doing their best, and everything else kind of follows from that. You are just trying to add a bit, within that window, trying to do our best for the county. Because at some stage players and management and backroom staff will all move on, and while we have the time it is a privilege and an opportunity to do your very best at any particular moment.”
Asked this summer about his last two-year extension, in May 2017, Gavin didn’t put any timeframe on his position. “I don’t have any plan in that regard. At the end of each year I will review it with the county board, and see, one, do they want me, and then if I have the energy for it. Do I have the space in my calendar to do it and if they are happy with it, we will do it. There is no long-term strategy, no three-year plan that other counties might have. Sometimes in Dublin you are not afforded that luxury. It is all about the here and now, what you can do with the team right now.”
After two decades working with the Air Corps, he has been working with the Irish Aviation Authority for the last three years. In that time Gavin has also remained reluctant to be pictured holding the Sam Maguire trophy.