A lot has been said about Jim Gavin’s demeanour after boldly going where no Gael had gone before on Saturday evening.
Putting Jason Sherlock and Declan Darcy up for interview was intriguing. While having his father present at the media scrum was touching.
It did feel like a finality of sorts. As though it had come to its natural ending but what if it hasn’t?
What if these touching and strange events were down to the fact that history had been created and it’s nice to acknowledge that. After spending the better part of a decade brushing it off with buzz words like ‘process’, ‘system’ and ‘performance’ it must feel good to let the mask slip momentarily.
While Gavin has reached unprecedented heights there’s always more to be won. No county has managed to land ten consecutive provincial titles. Dublin are now one Delaney Cup win away from securing that feat.
On a personal note, Jim Gavin is one All-Ireland away from equalling Mick O’Dwyer’s record of eight football titles. Given Dublin’s dominance, that marker is well within reach.
Dublin have been winning All-Irelands at a canter and it’s not about to stop. The numbers don’t lie.
Since the ‘drive for five’ began, their scoring difference has increased by a staggering 29 points. From +49 in 2015 to +78 in 2019.
Throughout this run, Jim Gavin has overseen 37 championship games. They’ve managed to win 34 and over the course of those 34 wins Dublin’s scoring difference is at an astronomical +238 points.
Apart from a slight dip in 2016, their average winning margin per game has increased year on year and currently stands at nearly 14 points.
They are making it look easy and runs like this don’t just stop. Dublin will win more. Given the statistics and the talent pool, it’s not out of the question to predict they’ll win at least five of the next ten All-Irelands (and that’s being generous to the rest us because it’s probably more like seven).
Let’s not get carried away with talk of this natural and fitting ending. Jim Gavin is a competitor. He likes to compete and competitors like to win.
Obviously, other factors come into the equation, namely, work and family matters but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
Mick O’Dwyer, Brian Cody, Sir Alex Ferguson, Bill Belichick, what they’ve all got in common is that they only come along once in a generation. Who’s to say Jim Gavin isn’t this generation’s Bill Belichick?
Speaking of once in a generation…
The other burning question following their win is whether or not Stephen Cluxton will hang up his gloves.
Cluxton’s lap of honour was the most un-Cluxton-like thing we’ve ever seen. Again, it felt like a natural ending to an extremely successful career. The man has nothing to prove having won seven All-Irelands, six as captain and five-in-a-row.
The school of thought seems to be that Saturday was somewhat of a swansong for Gaelic football’s greatest ever goalkeeper (player) but with just one All-Ireland to win before equalling the record held by five members of Kerry’s golden era, why not hang around?
Two more wins and he’s out on his own. It’s not inconceivable to think that Dublin won’t win another two All-Ireland titles over the next three to four seasons.
At 37, he most certainly hasn’t lost a step. If anything he has only gotten better with age. He is a certainty for an All-Star and could well finish 2019 as the Footballer of the Year.
Has anyone over 40 ever won an All-Ireland? That could be a legitimate goal for Cluxton. Sir Alex Ferguson had Ryan Giggs while Bill Belichick still has Tom Brady.
What if Stephen Cluxton is the Brady to Jim Gavin’s Belichick?
It’s normal that potential retirements are at the forefront of people’s minds following Dublin’s latest victory. It did feel like a successful ending to many, many careers and there more than likely will be some who walk away.
At the end of the day though, it’s all hearsay and gossip, merely speculation. While Sunday may have felt like the natural ending, that does not mean it was.
Who knows where Dublin or Gaelic football go from here? Don’t be surprised though if the Jim Gavin dynasty has only just begun with his on-field general set to keep soldiering on in the meantime.