Jack Charlton’s decade as Ireland’s soccer manager is the pre-eminent example of the positive influence of imported expertise for Irish sport.
He left a legacy yet to be equalled, much less surpassed.
That role was, in part, provided by Cuban Nicolás Cruz Hernandez, when boxer Michael Carruth won Olympic gold in Barcelona 1992.
Though Skibbereen’s Dominic Casey was, in 2018, named world rowing coach of the year, his decades-long commitment to his sport, and his great achievements, were augmented by Australian David McGowan and Italian Antonio Maurogiovanni.
Their combined efforts have led to unprecedented success. Long may it continue.
It is hardly a coincidence that French rugby coach Regis Sonnes’s time in Bandon coincided with the emergence of a crop of young Munster players with entirely realistic ambitions to play at the very highest levels of their sport.
New Zealand’s Joe Schmidt led Leinster and Ireland rugby to great success, too.
Even if Charlton stretched the granny rule beyond breaking point, this pattern is at once uplifting and challenging.
Uplifting in that it shows we have a seam of sporting talent yet to be maximised; challenging in that it obliges us to sometimes look beyond the parish to realise those great gifts.