Succession model key to sustained Dublin success
QUITE why so many of the 1995 All-Ireland winning team have gone on to become successful in management, John O'Leary isn't exactly sure.
But nor is he particularly surprised. "It's part of the DNA and the circle of life," says O'Leary, captain of that team and himself, a former inter-county manager with Wicklow.
"And no doubt there will be fellas from the last two All-Irelands that will go on to be managers at some stage."
Certainly no great shock to O'Leary that Gavin has cut such a successful figure behind the white line. "Jim is - I won't say a serious guy - but he's an intelligent fella. It wouldn't have surprised me (that he became a successful manager). Nor would Pat Gilroy.
"I mean, (Paul) Curran is a great fella too, but if you were playing with him, he was a bit of a messer and you didn't really think that might be his interest.
"But like all these fellas, they have the talent and the experience and when they apply themselves, they can really focus. Some of the fellas you play with are messers and happy-go-lucky fellas and you might be surprised when they turn their hand to it.
"But they're obviously all drawing on their experiences. There is a massive well of experience there."
Gilroy and Gavin have both won All-Irelands with Dublin. Dessie Farrell has done so with the minors and U21s.
With the latter, Mick Galvin - formerly in charge of both Na Fianna and St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh - was a selector.
Just as he was on the All-Ireland junior winning team (2008), managed by Mick Deegan - one of Gavin's backroom team, the newest member of which is Jason Sherlock.
Paul Curran brought Ballymun Kickhams to an All-Ireland club final. Paul Bealin has had stints in Wexford and Westmeath. Paul Clarke trained Pillar Caffrey's team for four years. Keith Barr won an All-Ireland Féile Division 1 with St Brigid's. So while the committee that appointed Gilroy after Caffrey's exit in 2008 had to think long, hard and inventively to come up with his name, the next succession - whenever Gavin decides that his time is up - is unlikely to be so complicated.
"Ultimately," says O'Leary, "what you're trying to do, is bring this thread of style of football through. Fellas coming through development squads, so that when a fella is under-16, 17, minor, under-21, he's almost brainwashed into the way we do things in Dublin and into the way we play football.
"And part of that continuity is at management level. So if Dessie's the next manager or Paddy Christie, I think it's a great way to build your succession planning.
"I think it's a better way of doing it than sort of jumping around every three or four years. Sometimes you have to play the long game.
"And I'd like to think Dublin are playing the long game here, as opposed to having a two or three year gig, throw all that stuff out and start again.
"You might be lucky. But you don't get sustainability."