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Eugene McGee One of the Greats

  • 06-05-2019 4:06am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,072 ✭✭✭ Sonny678


    Very sad news. A great gaa man.

    I have to say he is one of my heroes. I admired him as a manager. But also as a pundit. When I was young there was two people after every game I had to read the next day in the paper to hear what they would say. The first was Con Coulihan in the Evening Press. The second was Eugene McGee. Con was a great writer who had a brillant way of summing up games. But Eugene had a great football brain and was always straight and told it as it was. As I said he is one of my gaa heroes. One of the gaa men I admired most.

    I dont thinik Eugene got the credit for he what achieved. When people talk about great gaa managers of all time they mention Dywer Boylan Heffernan and Harte and desevedly so. But Eugene McGee was right up there with them.

    Eugene McGee was a great gaa man. One of the greatest gaa managers of all time. He was the Jimmy McGuiness of his day , a true innovator who was ahead of his time. Two stats below show his greatnesss.

    Only one manager defeated both Dublins Heffernan 70s teams and Dwyers kerry team of the same era in the championship and that was Eugene McGee. Secondly only two outside managers have ever won Sam Maguire. The first is John O Mahoney a Mayo man who led Galway to Sam in 1998 and 01 and the second is Eugene McGee, a longford man who led Offaly to win Sam in 82.

    He came from a county that produced great gaa men at the time who were real innovators that changed the face of the gaa. Eugene was from rural north longford and he changed the face of gaa management. Another longford man who changed the face of the gaa at the same time , was the man who built modern Croke Park . That was liam Mullivill , the director general of gaa in 80s and 90s. When Mullivill said he was going re modernise and re build Croke Park and build a new stadium in the late 80s ,many people were critical of him and saw it as a waste of money. Mulihvill would build a new Croke Park under cost in time , a world class stadium. Like Eugene McGee, Mulihvill was from a so called weaker county ,who changed the face of the gaa.

    Eugene McGee was the Jimmy McGuiness of his day. He would video tape games of opponents, this was unheard of at the time in the gaa. He worked on players diets and this was also unheard of at the time in the gaa. He would give all his players information and anyalsis on their direct opponent. Again this was unheard of at the time. He would go over to Arsenal and watch professional soccer players train to find out how professional sports people trained. At the time again this was unheard of in gaa circles . At Arsenal at the time Frank Stapleton Liam Brady and David O Leary were playing for Arsenal and Eugene would ogover to see them train and find out what modern training techniques that he could use as a gaa manager.

    But his true greatness was he took on three great football teams who were seen as unbeatable at the time, and he defeated these three unbeatable legendary teams against all odds. His first sign of greatness was as manager of UCD. In 1970s St Vincents influenced by Kevin Heffernan and led by Jimmy Keaveney were not only the best club team in Dublin, but were the best club team in Ireland. Between 1950 and 1977 St Vincents won 22 Dublin senior titles. And at the start of 70s another great Vincents team was emerging. St Vincents won 3 in a row senior club titles in the years 1970 71 1972. St . Vincents were seen as unbeatable in the Dublin club championship at the time. Yet Eugene McGees UCD dethroned them in the 1973 and the 1974 club finals, beating St Vincents in both finals. St Vincents would win the 1975 and the 1976 finals beating UCD in both finals . ( Vincents won the All Ireland senior club title in 1976). In 4 years in a row , UCD and St Vincents played in 4 Dublin senior club finals versus each other, with two wins apiece. These were legendary games were Eugene McGee went up v Kevin Heffernan. And Eugene McGee suceeded in beating a great Heffernan Dublin team, not for the last time. (Eugene also led UCD to two in a row leinster senior club titles in 1973 and 1974 and led UCD to win two in a row All Ireland senior club titles in the mid 1970s. Simply put this UCD team managed by Eugene McGee is the greatest college GAA football team ever.And it is no coincidence that after he left UCD . it would be another 25 years before a UCD team would even reach a Dublin senior club final)

    After his huge sucess with UCD, Eugene McGee took over the Offaly senior job. .He took over Offaly who at the time were heading towards div 3 and maybe even div 4. Offaly had a great team in the early 70s but by the mid to late 70s that team was broken up. In his first two years there was little sucess. But he was placing in strong foundations. In 79 he was unlucky not to beat Dublin in a leinster final. But in 1980s he defeated Dublin in a leinster final which stopped Dublin from winning 8 in a row leinster titles and stopped Dublin from reaching their 8th All Ireland final in a row. And in 1982 he defeated Dublins Heffernan led team in a leinster final by 9 points , which is Dublin worst ever defeat in a leinster final ever. At the time Dublin in leinster were just dominat as they are now. And were just as sucessful and dominant nationwide as they are now , the only difference was Dublin can beat kerry now , they couldnt in late 70s and early 80s. Yet this unbeatable Dublin team who were feared throughout the land were dethroned by this great longford man , not once but twice.

    After dethtoning Heffernans two great Dublin teams in leinster (St. Vincents and Dublin inter county team ), Eugene turned his attention to Mick Dwyers great kerry team who were seen as not just only as unbeatable but were seen as the invincibles of gaelic football, seen as the greatest football team of all.time.. No one could see anyone beating Kerry in the late 70s and early 80s, it was an impossible dream. As kerry won 4 in a row All Ireland titles and won 8 Munster titles in a row. The 5 in a row in 1982 was seen as unstoppable. Kerry couldnt be beaten , kerry were seen as unstoppable.

    Yet Eugene McGee over a 4 year period kept building Offaly to get closer and closer to kerry. They played Kerry in the1980 All Ireland semi final. They lost to kerry in 1980, but scored 4 - 10. They lost in All Ireland final v kerry in 1981, but kept kerry to 1 - 12 , after letting kerry score 4 - 15 in the 1980 semi final. They were slowly closing the gap between themselves and kerry. And any chance they could play a challenge game v kerry, it was set up. And many times in those challenge games they were hammered by kerry . And people would say to Eugene McGee, why play kerry so many times in challenge games and get so many bad beatings?. Surely its not good for team confidence , they would say. Eugene McGee would answer back, the more we play them, the more we get used to playing them, the more we learn about them, the better the chance we have of beating them in the future.

    And he was right. For in the greatest All Ireland final of all time which ended with the most famous gaa goal of all.time , a man from North rural longford stopped the greatest gaa football team ever from achieving the greatest gaa achievement ever. A great gaa man, one of the greatest managers of all time. Eugene McGee.

    Eugene McGee RIP.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,341 ✭✭✭✭ Zeek12


    I always enjoyed his contributions to The Last Word on Today FM, where he was a regular contributor on GAA matters.

    Plain speaking. Intelligent. No BS. He was wonderful to listen to.
    He had a great insight for the game. And a disarming sense of humour which probably escaped many listeners.

    Thoughts to his family on their loss.
    RIP Eugene.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,072 ✭✭✭ Sonny678


    Eugene McGee had a outstanding record as a manager. His achievements as a manager r below

    1 Longford senior club championship title ( Newtowncashel) 1977
    2 Dublin senior club championship titles ( UCD) 1973 1974
    2 Leinster senior club championship titles ( UCD) 1973 1974
    2 All Ireland senior club championship titles (UCD) 1974 1975
    7 Sigerson Cup titles ( UCD) 1968 1973 1974 1975 1977 1978 1979
    2 Leinster Under 21 titles ( Offaly) 1977 1979
    3 leinster senior titles ( Offaly ) 1980 1981 1982
    1 All Ireland senior title ( Offaly) 1982
    1 McKenna cup ( Cavan ) 1988
    As Irish International Rules Manager in 1990 Eugene won the series with two Irish victories over Australia.

    In 11 years as a manager between 1973 and 1982 Eugene McGee won 17 senior titles with 4 different teams. Eugene was one of the greats.

    He was the only outside manager along with John O Mahoney to win Sam Maguire. And one of the few managers to win an All Ireland senior football club title and All Ireland senior football title. Billy Morgan, Pat O Se, Joe Kiernan and Eugene McGee are the only managers to win both titles as managers. His rivalry with Kevin Heffernan in the 70s , when he managed UCD is one of the all time great managerial football rivalries. Many thought Mick O Dwyer was Heffernans main rival, but really it was Eugene McGee at UCD. The clashes between Vincent's and UCD in the 1970s are one of the great club rivalries of the last 50 years. They played in 4 Dublin senior club finals between them and won 3 All Ireland senior club titles in 3 years between both teams. And of course his victory over Kerry with Offaly is the last time a county with population under 100000 won Sam Maguire. And remeber Micko and Hefferanan were all time great footballers before they became managers. Eugene said himself he couldnt kick a ball straight when he was younger. Yet this man from north rural longford not only took on two of the greatest figures in the history of the GAA and was sucessful , but he was their equal .

    Eugene was one of the greatest managers of all time. Also an excellent GAA journalist who told it as it was. He was also a man of great integrity and decency and a very humble man also. He symbolised everything great in our games. He was one of the greats.
    Eugene McGee RIP.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,833 ✭✭✭ kk.man


    Eugene McGee Another great Gael from my youth passes away RIP and thanks for the memories.


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