continuity is key

Dublin's three-in-a-row All-Ireland winning boss Bohan staying on board for 2020

‘Loyalty has to be a factor in managing a group: you have to look around and see what’s the right thing for them.’

DUBLIN’S ALL-IRELAND three-in-row winning manager Mick Bohan has confirmed that he will continue in the role for 2020.

mick-bohan Dublin ladies football manager Mick Bohan. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

Bohan first took the reins in December 2016 and has done a stellar job since, guiding the side to a clean sweep of All-Ireland and Leinster titles, while he delivered the county’s first-ever Division 1 league crown in 2018.

He committed to two more years with the reigning champions just one day short of exactly 12 months ago, and after steering the side to a third consecutive Brendan Martin Cup lift against Galway in September, today confirmed that he and his backroom team will fulfil that deal.

In a fascinating wide-ranging interview (more will follow on The42) this morning at 20X20’s Chapter 3 launch, the Clontarf clubman assured that he will be at the helm again in 2020.

“Well we had signed on for two years,” Bohan explained. “Initially we had come in for two years and when the county board came back again and asked would we stay on for another year, we said, ‘No, we’ll stay on for two.’

“Because the pressure would have been wrong, we would have been just seen to be going after a three-in-a-row which was the wrong message to the group. That’s why we did that.”

It’s a funny one, isn’t it? It’s nearly easier to step down if you’ve been successful rather than when you haven’t,” he continued. “If we hadn’t have been successful, we’d have no choice rather than to go again.

“A part of you then goes, ‘Maybe it’s time to do something else or give somebody else a chance’ and whatever else. But then, I certainly know in our case, if I looked around the group, that there would have been key members of the squad — and I think if we’d have gone, they’d have gone.

mick-bohan-talks-to-his-team-after-the-game With his side after going three-in-a-row last September. Bryan Keane / INPHO Bryan Keane / INPHO / INPHO

That’s not good for them because they’d have shortened the career that they could have had. That little bit of loyalty has to be a factor in managing a group: you can’t just look at your own needs, you have to look around and see what’s the right thing for them.

Coming into the job, Bohan faced a difficult task. The Sky Blues had suffered three All-Ireland final defeats in-a-row to Cork in the preceding years, each by the narrowest of margins. 

The hurt, the heartbreak, the mental scars; Bohan was tasked with picking the players up to go again, and to build on the solid foundations laid by Gregory McGonigle.

“Three years ago when we started off on this, I still look back on the likes of Sinead Aherne and those girls who were unsure whether they were going to go again,” he said.

We obviously pulled a few heartstrings, so I think it was their opportunity to do the same.

“Look, we’ve been remarkably lucky with them. What a group to have been involved with.

This, many often forget, is Bohan’s second stint in charge.

He guided Dublin to an All-Ireland final appearance in 2003, where they suffered defeat to Mayo. Captain and 2018 TG4 Player of the Year Aherne was there then, while 2019 winner Siobhan McGrath was also involved with the panel.

Before coming back for a second bite at the cherry, Bohan compiled an impressive CV and culminated plenty of experience, mainly through the men’s game.

A PE Teacher by trade, Bohan previously worked as a skills coach alongside Jim Gavin when All-Ireland wins were achieved at U21 level in 2010 and 2012, and then with the seniors in 2013.

20x20 Campaign / YouTube

He contributed to DCU Sigerson Cup victories, and has enjoyed spells with Dublin clubs Lucan Sarsfields, Thomas Davis and his home outfit of Clontarf. He worked as a coach to the Clare senior footballers in 2016, alongside Colm Collins.

From there, Bohan returned to the Jackies and has put a huge emphasis on improving basic skills and raising the standard of the ladies game.

He’s joined there by Dublin All-Ireland winner Paul Casey and renowned coach Ken Robinson in his sizeable backroom team.

Bohan added: “On this front of the 20×20 campaign, we didn’t start it for this reason, but when you see life evolve — and I look at myself, I have three girls and the two young ones in particular, they’ve been so lucky to grow up getting to know these [players] and see them for what they are as incredible role models.

Obviously the girls have got to know them completely differently to just footballers, they’ve got to see them in so many different capacities.

“Whenever my time comes to and end with them and I look back, I can thank them for so many things — and one of them would be my two little ones have grown up seeing them in such a positive light as female footballers and athletes.”

AIG’s 20×20 Ambassador and Manager to Dublin’s three in a row All-Ireland Winning Ladies Team, Mick Bohan outlined his belief that women’s sport is just as skilful as men’s yet the audience gap in terms of those watching and attending female sporting events means they are not yet seen. 

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