The incredible numbers behind Jim Gavin's Dublin tenure

The incredible numbers behind Jim Gavin's Dublin tenure
Dublin manager Jim Gavin waves to supporters during the Dublin Senior Football teams homecoming with the Sam Maguire Cup at Merrion Square in Dublin. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

In the end, Jim Gavin's number came in at 107.

The former Dublin forward managed his county 48 times in the Championship and a further 59 times in the National League, bringing his grand total to 107.

His stats alone from seven remarkable seasons in charge of the Sky Blues make for incredible reading with just one blot on that Championship copybook - Donegal, 2014.

That equates to a 91.7% summer win rate, a figure that only drops down to 71.1% for league games when experimentation is supposed to be the name of the game.

The incredible numbers behind Jim Gavin's Dublin tenure

Winning was all that Gavin was ever after, league or Championship, and he presided over 86 victories in total, a breathtaking figure.

According to Paddy Quinn, the Tyrone native who played for Dublin for a period and attended Gavin's first training session at Parnell Park in late 2012, that level of dominance was always the target.

"He set out clearly that he was taking this job on for three years and his goal was three All-Ireland titles," said Quinn in a 2018 interview.

As it happened, Gavin didn't reach that first target of three All-Irelands in a row though he came mightily close with only Jim McGuinness' Donegal getting the better of them in that period.

After that, nobody could overcome them in the Championship, an unprecedented run of excellence that culminated in September's five-in-a-row triumph.

Whether or not Kerry, beaten after a replay in September, take any solace from the fact that they beat Gavin's Dublin three times - all in the league - the most any county managed, is debatable. After Kerry, a trio of counties - Cork, Monaghan and Tyrone - beat a Gavin managed Dublin side twice each while Derry also beat them. And that's it. 11 defeats in total in seven seasons of league and Championship football.

The incredible numbers behind Jim Gavin's Dublin tenure

It's eye-watering stuff, particularly for the next man up in the Dublin hot-seat who surely can't hope to repeat those sorts of numbers.

Gavin's departure today came as a giant shock. As far back as November 1, it was reported that he was already planning for 2020.

"The way he's inquiring and talking about fixtures for the league and that, I'd say he's definitely staying on," said Dublin chairman Sean Shanley.

Yet exactly 11 weeks after claiming his sixth All-Ireland win as senior manager, Gavin pulled the plug. The true reasons for that decision, and the timing of it, will all come out in the wash though perhaps the stats from the 2019 season offer an indicator.

For the first time, Dublin lost three times under Gavin in the league, also failing to make the final for the only time under his watch.

Later in the year, he concluded the Championship without getting a score from any of his substitutes for three games running; the All-Ireland semi-final and both finals. To put that stat into context, only once before this year's semi-final win over Tyrone had Dublin's subs not scored at least one point in a game under Gavin, going all the way back to the start of his reign.

Did he conclude that his squad wasn't as strong as previous seasons and couldn't keep dominating indefinitely? Bernard Brogan and Eoghan O'Gara have since left that squad and with Gavin now leaving it remains to be seen how many more veteran performers choose to follow him.

Three-in-a-row All-Ireland winning Dublin ladies manager Mick Bohan, who will inevitably be linked with succeeding Gavin, was certain just 10 days ago that the Clondalkin man was staying put for an eighth season in charge.

"If you look at it, the key man, Clucko (Stephen Cluxton), he wouldn't have stayed if Jim had gone," said Bohan, who was Gavin's skills coach in 2013.

That's one player. I don't know how many more would have been in the same boat.

Cian O'Sullivan, Paddy Andrews, Michael Darragh Macauley, Philly McMahon, Kevin McManamon are among a decorated group of players who will surely consider their positions, like Cluxton.

The incredible numbers behind Jim Gavin's Dublin tenure

Many of the younger players, most notably five time All-Ireland winners Brian Fenton and John Small, have never lost a Championship game.

In a wider context, Gavin's exit bumps Clare manager Colm Collins up into second spot in the list of long-serving inter-county football bosses.

Collins is heading into his seventh season with the Banner while Mickey Harte, approaching his 18th year with Tyrone, is the only bainisteoir still in place to have seen out the entire Gavin era.

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