Saturday 22 October 2016

Another year for Jim Gavin in Dublin hotseat

Jim Gavin
Jim Gavin

JIM GAVIN is secure in the Dublin football hotseat until the end of 2016, come what may in this year's Leinster and All-Ireland championships.

Gavin's original three-year term, due to elapse this autumn, has already been extended by another year ahead of Dublin's latest summer campaign.

The Blues boss will embark on his third championship with a Leinster SFC quarter-final against Longford in Croke Park this Sunday (4.0).

In his first two-and-a-half years, he has already claimed six of the seven major cups on offer - a hat-trick of Allianz League titles, the last two Leinster crowns and, most significantly, Sam Maguire in his first season, 2013.

Last year's All-Ireland semi-final ambush by Donegal was the only blot on an otherwise perfect copybook, but the Dublin county board quietly moved ahead of this season to provide some extra breathing space for Gavin.

Contacted by The Herald, Dublin chairman Seán Shanley confirmed that they had granted a 12-month extension to ensure there was "no pressure on him - that he had to win (the All-Ireland) in the next year. That is the theory behind it."

According to Shanley, even while accumulating all this silverware, the manager has been building a team replete with young talent.

"We are doing well and blooding new lads. If Jim goes without winning another All-Ireland, it's not the end of the road," he reasoned.

Meanwhile, as the Dublin hurlers prepare to launch their provincial quest on the same HQ bill against Galway (4.0), Shanley is urging Ger Cunningham's squad to take the next quantum leap.

"I would have considered Leinster and a national league as breakthroughs," the chairman said, harking back to the big achievements under Anthony Daly, "so we have to take the next step to an All-Ireland final. And then we will get most of the Dublin followers."

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