Thursday 21 September 2017

Vincent Hogan: 'Outsider' O'Dwyer - quite simply Gaelic football's greatest manager

Mick O'Dwyer
Mick O'Dwyer
Legendary football trainer Mick O'Dwyer.
Vincent Hogan

Vincent Hogan

IT is surely grim news for the lobsters trying to dodge pots in Derrynane Bay that Mick O'Dwyer has decided 60 years is long enough coaxing football teams to dream.

He has been talking for half a lifetime about settling back into an everyday routine, removed from the high-mileage tyranny of piloting his way to some training field from the isolation of Waterville. So the news that he is calling time on his career in football management seems mildly surreal for a man whose achievements in the game fly almost into the realm of make-believe.

In one sense, O'Dwyer belongs to a distant era now. In another, he transcends the very definition of time. Because the real miracle of his achievement in stockpiling eight All-Ireland titles for his beloved Kerry in 12 seasons didn't lie in stark arithmetic. It came in the illusion of easy joy that we came to associate with that team -- the sense of men playing football you could write a poem about.

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