GAA Football

Dublin's Philly McMahon unsure on what the future holds

Dublin players celebrate at the final whistle on Saturday. Picture by Hugh Russell
Cahair O'Kane at Croke Park

WITH the weight of winning a fifth straight All-Ireland transferred from his shoulders to his pocket, Philly McMahon admitted this year had left him unsure about his future.

Ordinarily a first-choice member of the Dublin defence, both he and Cian O’Sullivan found themselves in and out of the team throughout the summer.

McMahon was called upon to go straight in when Kerry sprung Tommy Walsh from the bench, thus allowing him to play a part in the decider.

He admitted that being dropped for the All-Ireland semi-final stung and hinted that the decision on his future might not just be his own.

“I don’t know, that’s up to the management.

“For me I had two season where I had a lot of added stress outside of sport. This year, even though I didn’t play much, I felt great in that I was moving well in training and my head was in a good place whereas it wasn’t the previous two years.

“Who knows? If the management needs your services and you think you can do it again, you go again. I'm sure there will be a few changes.”

The outside perception of the Dublin players as robots doesn’t quite tally. McMahon admits that they have cheat days like everyone else, but that the nature of the playing group meant they’d be very quickly pulled into line.

“When I have a bad day, I’ll be told, a player will tell me. I’m human, I make mistakes. I was in the game against Roscommon and then not in the Mayo game, and you get these kicks up the arse every so often.

“That’s the standard we have in the group, you just can’t be complacent or it’s next man in. That’s how competitive the nature of the group is.”

Cheat days are less telling when you’re putting in the time they’re putting in.

“You can’t imagine the number of pieces that go into getting a performance today. It’s unbelievable.

“I probably put in 40, 45 hours a week. I’m sure the lads do that as well, some do more. We always say Clucko has nothing else to do, he’s a teacher, but he definitely puts in more than 40 hours.

“There’s a huge amount, you can’t put into words all the pieces of the jigsaw to bring a performance piece together.”

McMahon revealed that he had to cancel his stag do in Spain owing to the replay of the decider, joking that he’d have had no friends left if there had to be a second replay.

“They had to fork out a few extra quid and it’s going to be next week. If we drew again, I don’t know what I would have done because the lads… I would have very few friends (left) because they would definitely have headed off and left me on my own.”

Jim Gavin cast a bit of doubt on his own future, more by his demeanour after the game than anything he said.

It raises the question as to how much of this Dublin success is down to the manager, and whether it will continue after he’s gone.

Sporting history is rich with examples of dynastical managers that left only to see the club crumble behind them.

“Jim is a great leader and I’ve no doubt his cause is for Dublin GAA, not for Jim Gavin. I’m sure he’s putting everything in place that if he ever did step away, it would be passed down on to the next person, no different to the players passing down to the next person,” said McMahon.

“I know that’s what Jim’s about, he’s about Dublin GAA and he’ll pass that down whenever that time is."

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