Monday 11 December 2017

He could do a Brian Cody' - Dubs chairman backs Gavin to stay for 'a long time to come'

Brian Cody (left) and Jim Gavin (right).
Brian Cody (left) and Jim Gavin (right).

Jackie Cahill

Dublin GAA chairman Sean Shanley reckons that Jim Gavin could manage the county's senior footballers for as long as Brian Cody's been in charge of the Kilkenny hurlers.

Shanley is a massive fan of Gavin - who's hoping to guide the team to a third successive All-Ireland crown and has already agreed to manage the team until the conclusion of the 2019 championship.

But Shanley says he could be in Gaelic football's hottest seat for much longer than that - and perhaps rival Cody's tenure with the Cats that stretches back to 1999.

Shanley admits Dublin are lucky to have a manager of Gavin's calibre at the helm.

He said: "Yeah, he's there until 2019 regardless, and hopefully for a long time to come. He could do a Brian Cody on it if he wanted to, with the way things are going.

"But Jim insists on one game at a time - that's his attitude. He doesn't look too far ahead."

Shanley admits that thousands of Dublin fans will be left disappointed in the scramble for tickets ahead of the weekend.

A quarter-final double-header on Saturday, which also features Tyrone and Armagh, will ensure an 82,000 sell-out at Croke Park.

Dublin and Monaghan as a standalone fixture would have attracted a massive attendance in its own right.

But Shanley acknowledged: "They (tickets) have to be spread around. But all of the genuine people will get their tickets, who are involved with clubs and all of that, which we keep telling people they should be."

Shanley has also voiced concerns about the condition of the Croker surface in the wake of the recent Coldplay and U2 concerts. The Hill 16 end of the ground has come in for criticism, but Shanley is more concerned by the prospect of rain than any sodding issues.

He said: "It's such a lush pitch that if it gets a drop of rain at all, it's slippy and too firm to dig in a stud. It's grand if it's dry but there's plenty of time to do something with it."

The pitch will come under massive pressure with three days of successive fixtures over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Shanley said: "It doesn't tend to cut up much but there were a few divots coming out last Sunday all right. But it's the slipping and sliding that's the problem."

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Irish Independent

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