After Jim Gavin led the Dublin footballers to another All-Ireland title last September, to complete his three-in-a-row, he was criticised in some quarters for his perceived refusal to open up to the media.
Jim Gavin's meticulous approach has resulted in an astonishing Dublin side who have developed into a juggernaut. Throughout his reign, the mask rarely slips and Gavin goes about his dealings in a calm and methodical manner.
Kieran Cunnigham of the Irish Daily Star gathered Ger Loughane, Eamon Dunphy and Paddy Cullen together for what is a highly entertaining interview in today's paper. Midway through Dunphy makes the apt comparison that Jim Gavin is like New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, something Ger Loughane was in agreement about.
You're spot on, Eamon. When I watched Belichick's interview the other night, I was thinking 'that's Jim Gavin'. He's the Irish version of Belichick. Never gets too high. Doesn't praise his players too much. No praise for Tom Brady's heroics in that game. It's all about the team. Gavin is the exact same.
Everyone wants a Derek McGrath. He's all things to all people. Talks plenty, loads of philosophical chat mixed with it. But, if you were a player who would you want- Jim Gavin or Derek McGrath? I'd have Jim Gavin everytime.
Loughane and Dunphy were also in agreement about how Gavin should deal with the press; 'I think he should say fuck the Media.'
Belichick is now preparing for yet another Super Bowl as the Patriots face the Philadelphia Eagles next week. As a coach, he is a controlled operator. Praise is rarely given unless extremely merited, scores aren't celebrated and his players have a healthy fear of him.
The crux of Loughane and Dunphy's point is that if a manager is nice to the media, his players will think he is soft.
The interaction between the press and managers is one of the oldest sporting exchanges there is. There are obvious extremes on this scale. For instance, Martin O'Neill's interactions with Tony O'Donoghue and RTE News are more likely to see him criticised than praised. Gavin's approach is less emotional, he is merely guarded not hostile.
The full interview is available in today's Irish Daily Star.