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'He's a big part of the leadership group' - Gavin lauds Philly McMahon after defence stands firm

Jim Gavin says the defender has ‘really come on and grown’.

McMahon beats Colm Cooper top the ball.
McMahon beats Colm Cooper top the ball.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

DUBLIN’S VICTORIOUS MANAGER Jim Gavin has hailed the impact of corner back Philly McMahon, after the Dubs won a third All-Ireland football title in five years this afternoon.

The Ballymun Kickhams defender came in for a lot of criticism folling the All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo, after Aidan O’Shea claimed he had been headbutted by him, but after playing his part in a Dublin defence that shipped just nine points in today’s final, his manager was singing his praises.

Gavin said that the player has become a real leader in the Dublin side.

“Philly’s been playing well for us, he’s really come on and grown this year. He’s a big part of the leadership group in this football team. Off the field he does an awful lot of work as well, so on a personal level I’m just delighted for them all,” he said to The Sunday Game in his post match interview.

McMahon was again at the centre of attention today, with Kerry captain Kieran Donaghy claiming the defender had interfered with his eyes while they wrestled for possession on the ground.

Gavin was eager to stress the impact of his entire defence though, saying that by winning their individual battles, they were able to nullify Kerry’s attacking threat.

“They’re a potent forward line, that Kerry team, so we knew that they could at any stage breach our defence, but I’m just very, very happy for the players, they’ve put a lot of sacrifice into it this year, and they got their just rewards today.

“As we mentioned before the game Cian (O’Sullivan) was a big part of it, but they all played their individual parts, and overall won their individual battles, and that’s what was required.”

Despite Dublin leading for much of the game, Gavin stressed that there was very little to separate the sides, with conditions spoiling the game as a spectacle.

“It was always going to come down to the fine margins. Conditions made it difficult for both sides to play, a lot of errors in it, but we’re just very happy we got over the line.

“I thought it was even. We had a couple of goal chances, great to see Brian Fenton in the second half backing himself and going for it, we always encourage it.

“You lose more than you win in life, and sport as well. Resilience is a big part of it, that’s where your character comes out and this football team in Dublin is full of it.”

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Neil Treacy

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