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Friday 24 January 2020

The Next Dublin manager could add another three

McConville says massive job easier to take on now than it was when Gavin or Gilroy were appointed

Armagh’s All-Ireland winner and professional counsellor Oisín McConville gives a Gaelic football skills training session to young Palestinian refugees in the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. McConville visited Palestine and Israel with Trócaire to promote their Christmas appeal, which will help to support families who are living in conflict zones around the world. Donate at: www.trocaire.org/ christmas-appeal
Armagh’s All-Ireland winner and professional counsellor Oisín McConville gives a Gaelic football skills training session to young Palestinian refugees in the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. McConville visited Palestine and Israel with Trócaire to promote their Christmas appeal, which will help to support families who are living in conflict zones around the world. Donate at: www.trocaire.org/ christmas-appeal

Forget the obvious lure of the vacant Dublin manager's job and consider for a second the way in which the successful applicant's work will be appraised.

Emulate Jim Gavin and win all before you and the stint will be dismissed by some as new proof of the beneficial effects of Dublin's population and resources on their senior football team.

Anything less and your time in charge could plausibly be considered a drop in standards or worse, a failure.

"I'd look at the reverse of that," says former Armagh forward, Oisín McConville, opting for the damned-if-you-don't scenario.

"I just think that for the next person, it's a lot easier job now than when Jim Gavin took it,

"And definitely a lot easier job than when Pat Gilroy took it.

"So the next person coming in could realistically kick it on again which is quite a scary thought - but they could basically bring it on a level if they're so inclined."

On the plus side, whoever comes in won't need to deliberate long with their selectors about seasonal targets for 2020.

As McConville points out: "If they don't win the All-Ireland you're basically a failure.

"But certainly if I was given the opportunity it's something I'd love the crack at if I was a Dub," he goes on, "to go in there and try and keep that run going because it's very possible that they will."

Trusted

Indications are that the man will be revealed before this weekend although the inevitable complications of making such a late-season appointment may delay that slightly.

Last weekend, Declan Darcy was linked with making the step up from defensive coach and most trusted selector under Jim Gavin to his replacement as manager.

It would, were he available and interested, offer the obvious benefits of continuity of management to a group for whom continuity of anything has obvious benefits.

"I think probably the most important thing in that regard would be a fresh approach to training," says McConville.

"They've done certain things at certain times. And sometimes you need to turn that on its head.

"So continuity is good as well as you're freshening up certain parts of it.

"Be that the psychology or the head side of it or whether that's the actual training and what's happening aerobically or skill wise on the pitch."

The question as to how exactly Dublin can 'kick on' from their most recent standards is not one answerable in simple results.

"Kicking it on to another level is just creating a culture that is never going stop," McConville reckons.

"Because the big point is, if somebody comes in and drops the standards a little bit, he's going to be found out very, very quickly.

"And I don't think that will be allowed happen by the players. What they do next year will probably set the tone for what they do over the next few years.

"Realistically," he adds, "the next person could win another two or three in a row."

Last week, McConville visited Gaza with Trócaire to witness several projects supporting Palestinians, who are suffering from the devastating Israeli blockade and the ongoing occupation of the West Bank.

The trip chimed with him on a number of levels.

"I would feel that growing up in the era I grew up in, it was just the norm," he says of his childhood in Crossmaglen at a time of high political tensions.

"I suppose the norm was bombs and shootings and killings, the windows being blown in, all that sort of stuff.

"I didn't realise that wasn't the norm until I was 11. I definitely think it had a profound effect on me at some stages."

He will also keep a close watch on tomorrow's UK General Election due to the obvious ramifications it might have for people living in the six counties.

Framed as an economic movement, McConville is much more concerned about the social and political ramifications a hard Brexit could bring to his life.

He says he is strongly considering moving from Armagh if such outcome brought with it the return of a border.

"When you look at Brexit, most people talk about it economically," he outlines.

"And economically I'm sure there's going to be consequences but when I look at Brexit, I just look at - is there a hard border?

"There is a possibility, that might only be a small possibility but there's a possibility that it could lead to further trouble.

"And for somebody to put us back into that situation, the first thing I'd do is bail out," the 2002 All-Ireland winner stresses.

"I'd take the kids and I'd bail out, because I wouldn't bring my kids up in that scenario. There's no way I would bring my kids up in that now," McConville adds. "No chance."

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