Eoin Liston and Sean Boylan paid tribute to Eugene McGee this morning on OTB AM. The two shared their personal experiences of McGee both as a revolutionary manager and as a kind person.
The former Offaly manager received praise from the pair who both deemed him to be a tactical mastermind, ahead of his time with many of his tactics.
McGee led Offaly to their 1982 All-Ireland triumph as well as helping them win the Leinster Championships in 1980, 1981 and 1982.
Liston looked back on McGee with great respect having experienced defeat to Offaly in the 1982 final.
“We knew well that any team he was involved was going to be well prepared and well organised,” said Liston.
He also complimented McGee on his ability to learn from mistakes and to come back better than before.
“They got to a Leinster semi, they lost the Leinster semi, came back and won it. They got to a Leinster final and lost, came back and won one. Got to an All-Ireland semi-final, lost it and came back and won one. Got to an All-Ireland final, lost and came back and won one.”
Liston followed this up by saying, “Was he learning from mistakes? Was he improving the team? Absolutely, he was a superb coach.”
The Kerry icon was also able to talk about having McGee as a coach when playing International Rules, out in Australia where the Irish squad won all of their tests.
“His style was really about empowering players. It was the first time I had seen where he broke the team into groups. He’d break the team into groups, get the feedback, analyse the feedback and come back with a plan”, said Liston.
“He was a hard fella to pull the wool over his eyes, you could see that he was held in huge respect by the players. He was straight talking but kind.”
Sean Boylan continued the tributes on OTB AM this morning telling his anecdote about McGee’s caring nature.
The two of them were unwell in hospital with a virus but McGee wouldn’t turn off his phone for fear that someone else would be in trouble. Boylan said that that was the kind of man he was as well as describing him as driven and saying that he wouldn’t be offensive in his manner, further saying, “In every walk of life he was exceptional.”
Boylan also remembered a time when their teams were playing and McGee talked to him for about an hour at a time where Offaly were All-Ireland champions where he said he’ll never forget the words of wisdom, advice and calmness of McGee at the time.
He remains thankful to McGee for giving up his time to help him when Boylan was only a rookie for speaking to him with the respect that he would give to someone who would have won the All-Ireland.
Words by Hugh Farrell