When Joe Schmidt stepped down as Ireland’s rugby coach after the Word Cup in Japan, Irish sport lost one of its great agents for change.
Schmidt coached Ireland for six years and despite the World Cup disappointments he leaves an enviable record with Ireland and Leinster, one his successors will struggle to emulate.
However, it is all but impossible to imagine how Dublin football manager Jim Gavin’s successor might emulate his record five-in-in-a-row All Ireland titles.
Gavin, who has unexpectedly retired, achieved what none of his predecessors did. Only Brian Cody and Mick O’Dwyer can be considered in the same light.
Gavin’s announcement stirred all the usual begrudgery about resources — the very same resources available to his predecessors.
That, however, is hardly the point.
He maximised opportunity to establish a record only the wilfully miserable might condemn. Greatness is measured in many ways.
One is the influence a person may wield outside their chosen arena. Gavin is one of only a handful of Irish sports leaders who can be so considered.