Manager (Gaelic games)

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In Gaelic games, a manager or (in Irish) bainisteoir is involved in the direction and instruction of the on-field operations of a team. [1] [2] The role entails the application of sport tactics and strategies during the game itself, and usually entails substitution of players and other such actions as needed. At games, the manager may sometimes wear a bib with the word "manager" or "bainisteoir" adorning it. [2] [3] Many managers were former players themselves, and are assisted in coaching the team by a group of selectors (in Irish roghnóirí). [4]



The term "manager" emerged in the 1970s owing to the influence of the BBC programme Match of the Day . A portion of the east coast of Ireland, including Dublin, was able to receive the channel and programme, which showed coverage of association football, where "manager" was the common term used for the coach or supervisor of the team. [5] This later played a role in changing the management structure of Gaelic Athletic Association teams as the Dublin football revival of the 1970s evolved. [5] Throughout the history of the GAA clubs and teams and were often influenced by selection panels. By the early 1970s, the GAA began to take note of the merits of having an individual soccer-style manager accompanied by assistants. In 1973 the Dublin County Board appointed Kevin Heffernan to lead their football team. [6] It was the first time in the GAA's history that a manager with substantial powers was appointed. [6] Other counties later followed suit by having a single manager supported by a smaller selection panel.[ citation needed ] While the GAA's current management and coaching model was influenced by other sports (like soccer), several differences with those sports do remain. [7]


The Gaelic Athletic Association publishes and maintains a set of guidelines for the appointment of managers. [8] Managers of county teams can be appointed from within that county - though it is not uncommon for managers to be "brought in" from elsewhere. [9]

GAA rules also allow for a manager (in Irish bainisteoir) to be supported by a single assistant manager (in Irish maor foirne) during games. [10] Under GAA rules, an assistant manager to a Gaelic football or hurling team may also be a member of the team's panel of selectors, but may not be one of the team's panel of players. [10]

Noted managers

In inter-county hurling, the manager with the most championship wins is Kilkenny's Brian Cody, with 15 Provincial Championship and 11 All-Ireland Championship titles. [11] [12] Tommy Maher, also of Kilkenny, has the second-most All-Ireland hurling championship wins, with 7 titles. [13]

In football, Mick O'Dwyer managed 4 different inter-county teams, including leading Kerry to 7 All-Ireland Championship titles. Jim Gavin is the second-most successful inter-county manager, with 6 All-Ireland titles for Dublin - including a record-breaking 5 in a row between 2015 and 2019. [14]

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  1. "English–Irish Dictionary (de Bhaldraithe): manager".
  2. 1 2 Neville, Steve (18 April 2018). "Harry Redknapp has a new job in Ireland". Irish Examiner . Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2018. As part of a new mini-series, AIB's The Toughest Rivalry, Redknapp will be donning the bainisteoir's bib with Castlehaven GAA.
  3. Farrell, Sinead (25 August 2018). "'Squaring up' to Jim Gavin as a player and stepping back to allow a daughter 'find her own self'". Archived from the original on 25 August 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018. The Dublin manager has attracted some criticism in recent years for his expressionless demeanour on the sideline while on duty in the Bainisteoir bib.
  4. "English–Irish Dictionary (de Bhaldraithe): selector".
  5. 1 2 "Martin Breheny: Dubs train sights on Heffo's heroes -". Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  6. 1 2 "The man who changed the face of Gaelic football -". Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  7. "Stevie McDonnell superbly explains differences between GAA coaches and managers". 27 May 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  8. "The GAA's nine-step guide for appointing a manager". Independent News & Media. 23 October 2009. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  9. "The import and export business". Independent News & Media. 24 November 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  10. 1 2 GAA Rule Book - Official Guide - Part 2 (PDF) (Report). GAA. 2016. p. 22. Retrieved 21 September 2018. one team official (Maor Foirne, who is an assistant to the Bainisteoir), may [..] make changes and/or to give instructions to players. [..] A Selector is permitted to act as Maor Foirne
  11. "Brian Cody oversees the 20th national title of his reign". Irish Times. 9 April 2018. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  12. "Brian Cody has now won more provincial senior titles than any other GAA manager". 4 July 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  13. "Godfather of Kilkenny hurling Fr Tommy Maher dies aged 92". 26 March 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2018.
  14. Neville, Steve (23 September 2019). "Jim Gavin to be awarded freedom of the city of Dublin". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 5 November 2019.