The 5th of October 2012 will forever be etched in the memory of Dublin supporters. It was the day that a certain Jim Gavin was announced as the new Dublin Senior Football manager.
Even back then the most optimistic Dublin supporter couldn’t have envisaged the volume of success that Dublin were going to enjoy under the Round Towers, Clondalkin man.
Jim definitely came with a great pedigree, an All Ireland winner as a player himself in 1995, he also won four Leinster titles and an NFL title in his playing days.
Jim retired from inter-county football in 2002 and the following year joined the U21 set-up as a coach on Tommy Lyons management team, Jim coached the Dublin U21’s to the counties first U21 All Ireland title in 2003.
After a spell away from the inter-county scene, Gavin took over as the Dublin U21 manager and guided them to two more All Ireland titles in 2010 and 2012.
The Dublin senior footballers were reigning champions in 2012, but they were beaten by Mayo in the All Ireland semi-finals and the then current manager Pat Gilroy decided to step down.
With Jim Gavin’s successful track record at U21 level he was the obvious choice to take over the reigns and his appointment was ratified at a County Board meeting on the 1st of October 2012 and officially announced on the 5th of October.
Although Dublin had only won an All Ireland Title in 2011, some of that side had retired by the time Jim took over and many believed 2013 would be rebuilding period for the new manager.
Gavin got to work straight away introducing a string of new faces to his squad including Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion to name just two. There had been some criticism of Dublin’s defensive style of play under Gilroy and the new boss would also address that area of the squad.
Gavin wanted his team to return to the heritage and style of play Dublin were renowned for since the 50’s, a brand of exciting attacking football. The year started off with defeat to Kildare in the O’Byrne Cup final, but even in those early weeks in January there was a marked difference in Dublin’s style of play.
By the time Dublin reached the NFL league final on the 28th of April the new style was well bedded in and Jim Gavin’s men were thrilling the Dublin supporters with their exciting brand of attacking football.
Dublin defeated Tyrone that day in a thrilling final to lift their first NFL title since 1993 which kickstarted a unbelievable run of success. A Leinster title was followed by a second All Ireland title in three years.
Since 2013, 3 more NFL titles, 3 Leinster titles, 2 All Ireland titles (including the first back to back title wins since 1977) and an O’Byrne cup have followed. What does the future hold for this Dublin team under Gavin who knows. Next season they will be looking to win their fifth Allianz NFL in a row, their seventh Leinster title in a row (fifth under the management of Jim Gavin) and third All Ireland title in a row. Can they do it, very few would bet against it and it would be some achievement, but there are no guarantees in sport and Dublinsupporters will just have to wait and see how the 2017 season pans out.
No matter what the future holds Jim Gavin has been an unbelievable appointment for Dublin, he is now rightly shoulder to shoulder with the great managers of the game and for Dublin supporters they will hope that the Clondalkin native will stay at the helm for many years to come. “IN JIM WITH TRUST.”