Bundoran man Billy Gavigan has stepped down as manager of Melvin Gaels, the current Leitrim Senior Football Champions. The announcement was made by the club who issued a press statement on Friday evening.
Billy told the Democrat he “loved his time with the Kinlough people” but for “personal reasons” he would only be able to “give it 70 per cent this year”. He added: “I think too much of them to do that, so I stepped down.”
Gavigan, who took over the team after their relegation from the Senior Championship in 2010, guided them to the Leitrim Intermediate championship in his first year and they competed in both the Shield Final and the Division 1 League final.
In his second season in charge he managed the team to the Leitrim senior championship title, the win secured over old rivals Glencar Manor. He again brought the club to the Division 1 final.
Gavigan who has something of the midas touch in management terms, has an amazing CV with triumphs in the US and here. Having guided Bundoran (2010) to an Inermediate championship victory while their manager, eight years earlier he enjoyed championship success with Donegal Boston (2002).
He said he had two “fantastic years” in charge of Melvin Gaels and added: “I regret that I have to step down for personal reasons.”
He thanked the players, club, committee and supporters, his son Brian and Aiden McGurran and Liam Gilmartin whose support to him as selectors was invaluable.
“Last but not least I would like to thank the players who are absolutely fantastic. The boys bought into my approach and put all the hard work in that was required to win the Intermediate and Senior Championship. They are a credit to the football club, the community and to their family and friends. I am so glad that I got to work with such a great bunch of lads and I will really enjoy my remaining training sessions with the lads until a new manager comes in. I wish Melvin Gaels every success in the future.”
Club Chairman, Dessie Sheridan said: “Billy has done an outstanding job for Melvin Gaels and achieved above and beyond our expectations in two short years. I regret that Billy has called time on his term but I am delighted that Billy will remain with the team for the opening of the league to allow time for a new manager to be appointed along with a smooth transition. Melvin Gaels owe Billy a debt of gratitude for the fantastic success that he has brought to the club in such a short space of time and I can say with no reservation, Billy’s spell in charge is without doubt our most successful period since the 1960’s.
“On behalf of Melvin Gaels I wish to thank Billy for everything he has done in such a short space of time and I wish him every success in the future. I would also like to thank his son Brian for his role as selector in 2011 and Aiden McGurran and Liam Gilmartin for their role as selectors in 2012.”
Team Captain David McSharry said; On behalf of myself and the players, I would like to sincerely thank Billy for our unrivalled successes over the last two seasons. We were in disarray after our relegation in 2010 but Billy lifted us up and I can safely say that we would not have achieved what we have done without his management. It is unfortunate that he has called time on his tenure but he leaves us in fantastic condition. This year’s pre-season training has been going great with large turnouts and Billy’s enthusiasm for the team was as high as ever. I would like to wish him all the very the best and I have no doubt that he will return to the club in the future.”
He added: “The 2011-2012 period will be remembered as the Billy Gavigan era in Melvin Gaels and supporters & players will long talk about the great successes achieved on the football field period during this time. Billy also leaves a standing legacy for the future of the club with the Strength & Conditioning facility that was his brainchild and its construction was overseen by Billy to the finest detail. The ‘Billy Bowl’ as the players fondly call it will stand the test of time and future generations of Melvin Gaels players will reap the benefits of this facility.”