National Forum

Sean Boylan Vs Jim Gavin - Who Is The Greatest?

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Replying To Greengrass:  "Great topic for debate meathfan. It could be broadened to ask who, over the last fifty years, is the greatest football manager of them all . One point I would make is that the vast bulk of Sean Boylan's time as manager of Meath happened when there was no back door/no second chance . That adds to his achievements ."
Surely that works both ways though.
If there is a back door the strong teams get a second chance. You have to beat a top contender twice to be rid of them.

catch22 (USA) - Posts: 1525 - 20/05/2020 22:24:25    2278873

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Sean Boylan, great wit, great orator & a great guy. His path in life is unusual, different & interesting, this helped give him respect & bring people with him. A very modest, down to earth man. Jim Gavin & Mick O Dwyer were great managers also & more successful, but blessed with talented squads.

moc.dna (Galway) - Posts: 1028 - 20/05/2020 22:34:57    2278874

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Replying To catch22:  "Surely that works both ways though.
If there is a back door the strong teams get a second chance. You have to beat a top contender twice to be rid of them."
Exactly. Dublin also never lost a game under Jim Gavin and didn't have to avail of the back door. I'm sure Roscommon weren't too happy with the back door in 2001, it's first year.

WanPintWin (Galway) - Posts: 813 - 20/05/2020 22:35:23    2278875

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No contest. Sean boylan.

royaldunne (Meath) - Posts: 16709 - 20/05/2020 22:36:17    2278876

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He's a very kind and obliging , is Sean.

Very interesting to speak and listen to not just about football if your open minded.

You won't find many in East Leinster who would have anything but admiration and respect for him even if he was the cause of more then one early summer for us.

TheUsername (Dublin) - Posts: 3480 - 20/05/2020 22:41:08    2278877

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Replying To WanPintWin:  "Exactly. Dublin also never lost a game under Jim Gavin and didn't have to avail of the back door. I'm sure Roscommon weren't too happy with the back door in 2001, it's first year."
They were happy enough in Tuam when they put ye first to go through it. Worked out well enough for ye later too!

GreenandRed (Mayo) - Posts: 5861 - 21/05/2020 00:32:53    2278881

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Replying To WanPintWin:  "Exactly. Dublin also never lost a game under Jim Gavin and didn't have to avail of the back door. I'm sure Roscommon weren't too happy with the back door in 2001, it's first year."
Not happy but them's the breaks boy.
I wouldn't dismiss an all Ireland win through the back door though when you have to win a rake of games and some All Ireland's won winning 3 or 4 games.

catch22 (USA) - Posts: 1525 - 21/05/2020 07:39:11    2278883

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Jim Gavin was very good but inherited a team that was all ready made and ready to go, Sean Boylan brought a team from nowhere twice to win allirelands and Leinster was a lot tougher back then . O'Dwyer would have to go down as the greatest though in my opinion, he took a young Kerry team to beat an established Dublin in 75 he lost the 5 in a row but regrouped to win 3 more. Then went and took a team like Kildare to an allireland final and won Leinster finals with Laois.

Johnnyprophet (Galway) - Posts: 30 - 21/05/2020 08:29:19    2278884

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Best Managers for me in the last 50 years in Gaelic Football (and in no order) are :

Heffo / Harte / McGuinness / Boylan

Why? Built teams out of nothing and put in place tactics that changed the game. Harte you could argue built really from ground up (Minor, U21 and Senior)

As A Dub I hate putting Boylan in there but he did it with two differnt teams.

I would then rank Galvin followed by Dwyer. They both had the resources but Galvin's man management ability and the self confidence to let other people run their area with such autonomy takes guts. And completely with ego.

The Kerry team of the late '70s did not come out of nowhere as people make out. Kerry in '75 were coming off the back of having won the All-Ireland in '72, 4 National Leagues titles in a row and the U21 in '74. Still took some effort and skill to mould them to what they became.

So the top 4 are my top 4 because they built teams/systems from nowhere to win All-Irelands and changed the face of the game.

witnof (Dublin) - Posts: 1578 - 21/05/2020 09:22:05    2278894

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Replying To WanPintWin:  "Exactly. Dublin also never lost a game under Jim Gavin and didn't have to avail of the back door. I'm sure Roscommon weren't too happy with the back door in 2001, it's first year."
Apart from the game they did lose...

oneoff (UK) - Posts: 389 - 21/05/2020 09:35:30    2278897

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Replying To oneoff:  "Apart from the game they did lose..."
Dublin didn't lose a game on their way to winning any of their All-Irelands. In response to the point that Meath didn't have the benefit of the backdoor for any of Boylan's All-Ireland wins.
Gavin's All-Ireland wins were also all without the need of a backdoor, was the point I made, so it was irrelevant.
In fact Dublin had to win more games and beat stronger teams who had already lost a game in some years.
I'd still rate Boylan's achievements as greater, for the fact that he did it with very different teams over a longer timeframe.

WanPintWin (Galway) - Posts: 813 - 21/05/2020 10:51:50    2278901

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gavin

mickcunningham (Westmeath) - Posts: 1234 - 21/05/2020 11:07:42    2278903

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It's hard for a Meath man to remain unbiased in this debate, also to be honest I know Sean Boylan, so it adds extra bias.

Obviously both Boylan and Gavin are legends and will go down in history among the greats, there's little debate about that.

They come across a little bit different in their approach, Gavin is the calm, cool headed, quietly determined general. A serial winner who rarely if evet puts a foot wrong, a county board's dream.

Boylan, is more the affable eccentric and a bit of a raconteur as well, but equally as driven and also rarely puts a foot wrong, another dream for the county board and supporters.

What might give Boylan the edge is that he took over a Meath team in disarray, we'd exited the championship in 1981 to Wexford and in 1982 Longford dumped us out, both were our first games. We hadn't won Leinster since 1970 and the All-Ireland since 1967. Boylan managed to pick us up and win 4 All-Irelands and 8 Leinsters with basically 2 different teams (the 96 team being mostly different from 87 & 88 and 99 being completely different from the 80s), he also won 3 NFLs and the centenary cup. A monumental haul given where he'd started from.

Jim Gavin took over a team with incredible talent, that was only getting stronger, they'd won the AI in 2011 and had unmatched recources at their disposal. However to dismiss Jim because of these factors would be ridiculous, he stepped into one of the biggest pressure jobs in the Gaa, and not only that but at a time when they fully expected to win basically everything, and he did it, he won basically everything he wanted to win. Save for a few leagues where he probably decided to pace his team for the championship and the O'Byrne cup which is a run out for the 3rd and 4th teams. That level of success requires someone special, no matter what advantages they have.

So who's the better of the 2? Boylan of course :-)

Htaem (Meath) - Posts: 8474 - 21/05/2020 11:40:38    2278905

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Replying To WanPintWin:  "Dublin didn't lose a game on their way to winning any of their All-Irelands. In response to the point that Meath didn't have the benefit of the backdoor for any of Boylan's All-Ireland wins.
Gavin's All-Ireland wins were also all without the need of a backdoor, was the point I made, so it was irrelevant.
In fact Dublin had to win more games and beat stronger teams who had already lost a game in some years.
I'd still rate Boylan's achievements as greater, for the fact that he did it with very different teams over a longer timeframe."
Lost to Donegal in 2014 semi-final.

meathfan1 (Meath) - Posts: 219 - 21/05/2020 12:16:53    2278908

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Im not sure i quite go along with Boylan building a team and Jim walked into one. There were only 3 players in McCarthy, Cluxton and Fitzer, who started in 2011 and who beat Kerry to claim a five in a row.

In fact im not sure there is a county or a manager who has put in his faith in youth and brought on and developed players, i think Jim built three teams in his seven years myself, 2013, 13-15, 15,19.

Im thinking of some of the players Jim brought through and developed: Davey Byrne, Johnny Cooper, John Small, jack McCaffery, Brian Fenton, Brian Howard, Niall Scully, Ciaran Kilkenny, Dean Rock, Paul Mannion, Cormac Costello, Even Comerford, Murchen and Con O Callaghan. That is is to name just a few. Then i think of some of the retirements actually quite a lot A Brogan, Cullen, Cahill, Flynn, Brennen, Nolan, Bastick. Then some lads going missing for a year/s Dermo, Rory O Carroll, Jack, Kilkenny etc.

The Dublin team has been quite dynamic and changable and the reason why success has been so sustainable is the amount of change and building.

You could say but Dublin have dominated U21, but Jim also headed up the majority of those U21 success's in fact Jim also had 2011 team at underage as well.

Im not sure Sean Boylan, as brilliant as he was or Michael from Waterville, were so holistically involved in development of players and building from youth level all the way up like Jim was for two decades before he got the top job in 2013. In fact there is fair argument there that for building Jim leaves both in the dust.

i like Sean and Michael mind, not to diminish there terrific achievements mind or to make a case fro Jim as his emplacements speak for them selves, a point of order really on the "building" and "development" points and the ready made team.

2011: S Cluxton; C O'Sullivan, R O'Carroll, M Fitzsimons; J McCarthy, G Brennan, K Nolan; D Bastick, MD Macauley; P Flynn, B Cahill, B Cullen; A Brogan, D Connolly, B Brogan. Subs: P McMahon for McCarthy (46), K McManamon for Flynn (51), E O'Gara for Cahill (57), E Fennell for Bastick (63)

2019: S Cluxton; E Murchan (1-0), D Byrne (0-1), M Fitzsimons; J Cooper, J Small, J McCaffrey; B Fenton, J McCarthy (0-1); N Scully (0-1), C Kilkenny (0-4), B Howard; P Mannion (0-4), C O'Callaghan (0-4), D Rock (0-3, 0-1 '45').

TheUsername (Dublin) - Posts: 3480 - 21/05/2020 13:05:51    2278913

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all those managers mentioned were great managers miko , jim gavin , harte, cody , boylan etc. but one must look at the players each had at their disposal. you're only as good as the players you have.

munsterchamps (Limerick) - Posts: 846 - 21/05/2020 13:14:00    2278914

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Replying To munsterchamps:  "all those managers mentioned were great managers miko , jim gavin , harte, cody , boylan etc. but one must look at the players each had at their disposal. you're only as good as the players you have."
Wrong , you're only as good as how you manage the best players you have.

catch22 (USA) - Posts: 1525 - 21/05/2020 13:57:00    2278915

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Replying To meathfan1:  "Lost to Donegal in 2014 semi-final."
Try giving it another read. They didn't lose any game on their way to winning their All-Irelands. I.e. They didn't need or avail of the backdoor in any of the years Gavin won.
They didn't win the All-Ireland in 2014, obviously as there's no backdoor for losing semi-finalists!
Therefore, the comment about Gavin having the advantage of playing in a backdoor era was irrelevant.
Galway, Tyrone and Kerry have all won an All-Ireland through the backdoor. They benefited from it. Dublin haven't, yet.

WanPintWin (Galway) - Posts: 813 - 21/05/2020 15:56:31    2278922

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Replying To TheUsername:  "Im not sure i quite go along with Boylan building a team and Jim walked into one. There were only 3 players in McCarthy, Cluxton and Fitzer, who started in 2011 and who beat Kerry to claim a five in a row.

In fact im not sure there is a county or a manager who has put in his faith in youth and brought on and developed players, i think Jim built three teams in his seven years myself, 2013, 13-15, 15,19.

Im thinking of some of the players Jim brought through and developed: Davey Byrne, Johnny Cooper, John Small, jack McCaffery, Brian Fenton, Brian Howard, Niall Scully, Ciaran Kilkenny, Dean Rock, Paul Mannion, Cormac Costello, Even Comerford, Murchen and Con O Callaghan. That is is to name just a few. Then i think of some of the retirements actually quite a lot A Brogan, Cullen, Cahill, Flynn, Brennen, Nolan, Bastick. Then some lads going missing for a year/s Dermo, Rory O Carroll, Jack, Kilkenny etc.

The Dublin team has been quite dynamic and changable and the reason why success has been so sustainable is the amount of change and building.

You could say but Dublin have dominated U21, but Jim also headed up the majority of those U21 success's in fact Jim also had 2011 team at underage as well.

Im not sure Sean Boylan, as brilliant as he was or Michael from Waterville, were so holistically involved in development of players and building from youth level all the way up like Jim was for two decades before he got the top job in 2013. In fact there is fair argument there that for building Jim leaves both in the dust.

i like Sean and Michael mind, not to diminish there terrific achievements mind or to make a case fro Jim as his emplacements speak for them selves, a point of order really on the "building" and "development" points and the ready made team.

2011: S Cluxton; C O'Sullivan, R O'Carroll, M Fitzsimons; J McCarthy, G Brennan, K Nolan; D Bastick, MD Macauley; P Flynn, B Cahill, B Cullen; A Brogan, D Connolly, B Brogan. Subs: P McMahon for McCarthy (46), K McManamon for Flynn (51), E O'Gara for Cahill (57), E Fennell for Bastick (63)

2019: S Cluxton; E Murchan (1-0), D Byrne (0-1), M Fitzsimons; J Cooper, J Small, J McCaffrey; B Fenton, J McCarthy (0-1); N Scully (0-1), C Kilkenny (0-4), B Howard; P Mannion (0-4), C O'Callaghan (0-4), D Rock (0-3, 0-1 '45')."
Good post.

Ciarán Kilkenny and Johnny Cooper both made their championship debuts in 2012 under Gilroy though.

MesAmis (Dublin) - Posts: 13085 - 21/05/2020 16:06:21    2278923

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I don't know. All I do know is that Gavin transformed Dublin mentally. Let's not forget that Dublin in eg 2005 were a fine team. When they were in the ascendancy in a game, they could play some champagne football. For 20 minutes, they'd be coming at you in waves and all you could do was hang on. So the talent was always there. What the 00s Dublin lacked was belief and staying power. Mulligan would stick a goal in or some similar setback would happen, and the heads would drop. Under Gavin, Dublin stay calm and they play with belief until the final whistle. In the 00s, the feeling Tyrone fans anyway had was that Dublin always lost the run of themselves with big talk before a game but then would lose their nerve under pressure in the game. Those days are long gone. It's a major shift in collective attitude. Sure, nobody can overlook the excellent players available + conditioning etc; but the Dublin team are now all paragons of modesty - decent lads all, even the couple of obligatory rascals in the ranks (every successful team needs a couple) - and the team's focus and will to win is as close to bullet-proof as you could wish for. Gavin made a major difference. Without wishing to get into what I view as a meaningless comparison between 2 great managers, Gavin's role can hardly be overstated in Dublin's fortunes. So for me, it's not just the records that he broke, it's the change in collective spirit and attitude that he brought about that is key to the success that followed. That sort of transformation in culture in a squad is not an easy thing to do. Top manager.

essmac (Tyrone) - Posts: 759 - 21/05/2020 17:33:45    2278928

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