It didn’t garner any headlines but Jim Gavin also hit the centenary mark in this year’s Leinster championship.
Against Louth in Dublin’s provincial opener, the game before his captain Stephen Cluxton hit the big 100 for Championship appearances, Gavin reached the landmark figure for League and Championship games as manager.
Against Cork in Croke Park this evening, he will seek his 40th Championship victory in charge of Dublin.
Needless to say, in his seventh season he is quickest in the history of Gaelic football to reach that number. Against Cavan last weekend, Mickey Harte celebrated his 70th SFC win as Tyrone boss but it took him until 2012, nine years after he first guided Tyrone into Championship action, for him to secure his 40th success in the competition.
Incidentally, Harte reached 100 SFC matches as Tyrone manager against Longford in round two of the qualifiers last month.
Harte is more comparable to Gavin than either Mick O’Dwyer or Seán Boylan, the two others of the last 10 multiple All-Ireland winning managers to score over 40 SFC wins, as O’Dwyer’s entire time at the helm of Kerry was in the knockout era and only five of Boylan’s 23 years leading Meath occurred in the qualifier era.
Gavin’s outstanding win rate just shy of 93% — the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Donegal and draws with Mayo in 2015 and ’16 being the only blemishes — puts even O’Dwyer in the shade with the Waterville legend enjoying a close to 80% win rate in his 15 seasons with the Kingdom.
What he and Kevin Heffernan might have been able to do via the backdoor is mere conjecture but their Championship win records are exemplary, as is Jack O’Connor’s, whose return of over 78% was achieved when Harte’s Tyrone were in their pomp.
In terms of All-Ireland final records, Gavin also leads the pack with five wins from five, tied with Down’s Pete McGrath who oversaw both the 1991 and ’94 appearances.