Sunday 17 December 2017

'Jim Gavin wouldn't do anything for show' - Former Dubs coach takes veiled swipe

Dublin manager Jim Gavin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Dublin manager Jim Gavin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

Former Dublin coach Mick Bohan has taken a veiled swipe at Kildare manager Cian O'Neill ahead of next Sunday's Leinster senior football final.

When asked to compare O'Neill and current Dublin boss Jim Gavin, Bohan insisted that he wouldn't see the pair as "anywhere similar", and described them as "completely contrasting characters".

When asked for an example to back up his point, Bohan pointedly replied: "Jim wouldn't do anything for show."

The suggestion that O'Neill is more of a 'flash' character than Gavin is sure to stir the pot ahead of the Croke Park showdown between record-chasing Dublin and Kildare.

Former Dublin coach Mick Bohan. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Former Dublin coach Mick Bohan. Photo: Caroline Quinn

The Sky Blues are aiming to become the first county to win seven successive Leinster senior football crowns - as an emerging Kildare under O'Neill's stewardship go in search of a first title in 17 years.

Bohan is a huge fan of Gavin's, having worked alongside him at U-21 and senior levels.

When Gavin was appointed as Dublin senior boss in 2012, Bohan was brought on board as skills coach, and helped to mastermind an All-Ireland senior crown within a year.

But Bohan, who was also an All-Ireland U-21-winning coach, believes that Gavin has been "hurt" by the recent Diarmuid Connolly saga - and has "a huge bee in his bonnet" over media coverage of the player.

Bohan is the current Dublin ladies senior team boss who worked with Colm Collins and the Clare senior footballers last year, as they progressed to an All-Ireland quarter-final appearance.

And he added: "I know in the last few weeks that the Diarmuid (Connolly) thing would have hurt him (Gavin) because he's the general and he has to back his men."

Bohan, however, is fully supportive of Gavin's stance and backed his decision to speak out against a perceived injustice.

Bohan said: "Hugely, and why wouldn't he? He would have a huge bee in his bonnet over some of the way the media went after the person, rather than the player. His whole thing from the start would be to judge them on what they do out there (pitch). That would have hurt him."

Kildare are now the only obstacle left in Dublin's path as they chase down seven in a row in Leinster. And while Bohan notes huge differences in personality between the managers, he's been impressed by O'Neill's work in Kildare.

Bohan said: "He's a big job to do, and, in fairness, Kildare have made progress but realistically, in the last decade, Kildare are the ones who have been competing with Dublin in minor and U-21 so they've been producing players. It's not like this team has just come together overnight.

"Cian has huge experience in Mayo and Kerry but I wouldn't see Cian and Jim anywhere similar - I would see them as completely contrasting characters. Jim wouldn't do anything for show."

“When you’ve been involved with teams like Mayo and Kerry, who’ve been successful, and I know people would dismiss Mayo because they haven’t won an All-Ireland but if you look back over the last decade, Mayo have been one of the top teams consistently, (and) Cian has been involved with those teams.

“You take huge confidence from that situation and you bring it with you, you talk to teams differently.

“You talk, not with an arrogance, but with a knowledge and belief in your own ability. When you bring that into a group, that’s immeasurable.”

Bohan insists that it will take “something special” to stop Dublin winning a third successive All-Ireland crown in September.

While achieving that would see Gavin eclipse Kevin Heffernan’s record of managing Dublin to three All-Ireland crowns, Bohan says that acclaim from the Hill 16 hordes doesn’t concern the current supremo.

Bohan said: “That wouldn’t be of any interest to Jim. All the frills are of no interest to him – he’s not interested in any of the hype, he’s not interested in any of the acclaim, he’s interested in looking after his men, it’s as simple as that.”



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Irish Independent

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