Sean, Alan Bradley’s documentary on long serving Meath manager Sean Boylan, fulfilled the main criteria of any such programme.
It left the viewer wanting more.
At the conclusion of the programme you were left with the feeling, there was so much untold.
It’s hard to imagine Sean Boylan throwing teacups around a dressing room but there surely had to be times, over a phenomenal twenty three year time span, when he told his players where they were going wrong in no uncertain fashion, or even had a stern word quietly.
It would have been interesting to see that side of the Dunboyne herbalist as it is agreed wisdom that you don’t succeed at high level management in any sport without having a tough streak, or by being nice to everyone.
Also, it would have been interesting to hear from Bernard Flynn one of Boylan’s boys who has carved a niche for himself in the media and one who is not afraid to call a spade a shovel, simply because he is a proven media performer, albeit on radio, and last night it was very obvious that because of his Sunday game experience Colm O’Rourke was more relaxed in front of the camera than most.
Time constraints naturally dictated the length of the documentary and perhaps one day Netflix may get round to doing something along the lines of their superb series, The Last Dance that followed the career of basketball superstar Michael Jordan.
Certainly on the evidence of last nights show there is a mini series at least in Boylan.
The man himself came across exactly as he does in everyday life, sincere, emotional, and honest, and that’s because he actually is a very nice man.
He was ahead of his time and the programme illustrated that when the section about the squad swimming in Gormanston college emerged and Boylan revealed he came up with the idea after he had discovered the women’s marathon winner at the LA games in 1984, Joan Benoit, had, because of a bad knee injury, done most of her pre Olympic training by running in a pool.
The impressive thing wasn’t so much that it worked, no Meath player going down with cramp in the four game marathon against Dublin proved that but that the Meath manager found out in the first place.
Back then there was no internet access, no Google, Yahoo or any other search engine, so this was an indicator that, despite giving the impression that everything was done off the cuff, Sean searched assiduously for anything that might give his team an edge.
Remind you of anyone?
Try Alex Ferguson!
There were laughs aplenty too, especially when one former player claimed the panel couldn’t decide whether Boylan’s approach to training was half mad or fully mad.
The non footballing part of the superb show was intimate and rightly so.
His candid confession that he became narky during his cancer battle was one he didn’t have to make and it had all the more impact for that, as did his wife Tina admitting that she feared he was going to die.
Boylan’s children informed us that what you see is what you get.and that summed up the man perfectly.
Sean Boylan’s achievements in football will stand the test of time.
So will Alan Bradley’s wonderful documentary.