GAA Football

Tyrone's Joe McMahon targeting third All-Ireland, now as Galbally coach

Galbally Pearse's manager Paddy Crozier with coach Joe McMahon (right) before the 2022 Ulster Club IFC Final against Corduff. Pic Philip Walsh
Francis Mooney

Joe McMahon has won the Sam Maguire Cup both as a player and as a coach, and now he's chasing another All-Ireland title on the club scene.

Along with former Derry boss Paddy Crozier, McMahon has guided Galbally to the Ulster Club IFC title, enhancing his reputation as one of the game's leading tacticians.

The former Tyrone star linked up with the club at the beginning of the 2022 season, winning promotion at the first attempt before crowning the year with a provincial triumph.

Galbally had been to the Ulster final in 2019, losing out to Magheracloone, but this time made no mistake with victory over another Monaghan club, Corduff.

"When you look at that team, and the work that had been put in previously and at the under-age levels, really our job was easy," said McMahon.

"It was just a matter of continuing the scaffold. Their learning was very much part of the journey, especially the young lads that have come through.

"And then you have a bit more experience in the squad, there's a nice blend there, and we're very grateful that it came together."

As assistant to manager Crozier, McMahon feels he has gained priceless insights into the finer detail of gaelic football strategy, and uncovered some key secrets of success.

The two men had worked together back in 2017, when Crozier managed an Omagh team captained by McMahon to the Tyrone SFC title.

"As a player I learned a lot from him. he managed me as a player, and when we won the Championship in 2017, he had enough belief to make me captain.

"Paddy is totally passionate about the GAA, he's a very knowledgeable man, and any wee thing that you can pick up from him, I'm happy to do that.

"I'm very lucky to be working alongside him."

After winning the Tyrone Intermediate Championship title, Galbally have soared through the provincial series with convincing wins over Glenullin of Derry, Dungloe from Donegal and Monaghan champions Corduff to lift their first Ulster title.

And the journey continues on Saturday when they take on Galway and Connacht champions Dunmore McHale's in the All-Ireland semi-final at Mullingar.

"This is new territory for everybody involved here, from the management to the players," said McMahon.

"It has been a great journey and the lads are enjoying it, it's something that you'll always want to give your best to.

"With the game being put back, and back, we understood that that was out of their control, and it was a matter of just going out and delivering.

"Now as we move towards the semi-final, I'm sure these lads would like to push on."

Every game has presented its own unique challenge, requiring bespoke preparation, and in the Ulster final, the key issue was finding a way to break down Corduff's defensive cordon.

"Every game takes its own dynamic. You can do all the planning and the preparation, and then once the ball is thrown in, it's over to the players, and they delivered on that.

"There were times when it wasn't going so well for them, and they just stuck with it, they kept banging the door, and eventually the door opened for them, particularly when they got that goal.

"They were able to kick on from that, and when you get ahead of Corduff, and the game that they play, with numbers behind the ball, it entices them to come out and more gaps opened up for us.

"Overall, it takes a massive group effort from the players and from the management team, and that's what we saw."