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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019

Dublin's constant comebacks, being part of a special group and adopting the All Blacks' culture

Philly McMahon on Dublin’s potential march to a league five-in-a-row.

THROUGHOUT THE SPRING as Dublin have been on the five-in-a-row league trail, their refusal to quit has kept them on the hunt for honours.

Allianz Football League Finals Media Day Philly McMahon and his Dublin team-mates chase league five-in-a-row on Sunday. Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

They were in arrears to Tyrone and Kerry but came back on both occasions to draw and then last Sunday, they summoned a late revival to see off Monaghan and book a place in Sunday’s decider against Dublin.

How do they keep managing to conjure up these comebacks?

“I suppose it’s been ingrained in us from experience that we continue on and we don’t stop until the final whistle no matter what,” says defender Philly McMahon.

“If there’s one thing that we want to be able to say to ourselves after a game, it’s that we just didn’t stop. If we got beaten, then okay, as long as we tried right to the end.

“It’s more so about that lads know what they should do and don’t go off on their own tangent. When your backs are against the wall, generally players think, ‘I need to do something special here to get us back on track’, and go off and do their own thing.

“But that separates the structure of your team and separates your tactics even more.

“If every player shows that mental toughness and makes that right decision, you claw it back, claw it back, and eventually you get the result.

“There’s really important characters within the changing room. Jim has created a good balance of people. They’re good people in the changing room, and they’re good people outside of it too.

“I don’t want to be robbing the All Blacks line – good people make good All Blacks – but essentially that’s what have with this Dublin team. We’d like to think that we’re good people on the pitch and good people off the pitch.”

On 12 of their last 13 journeys into the league, Leinster and All-Ireland arenas, Dublin have claimed silverware. They may not get hung up on records but McMahon is aware that he is part of a special group.

“Put the records aside, there’s no doubt that I definitely feel lucky to be part of a group that’s so special, in my eyes, because of what we’ve achieved. There’s no hiding that.

“Growing up, the Dublin teams that I would have looked up to would have found it hard to beat teams like Tyrone and Kerry.

“Is it luck that you’re born in a certain year? Maybe. That you have the chance to play with this team.

“If I was born a few years earlier I’d probably have nothing in my back pocket in terms of medals.

“It’s great, and long may it last, but I don’t think that it will.”

Allianz Football League Finals Media Day Kerry's Shane Enright and Dublin's Philly McMahon ahead of Sunday's Allianz football league final. Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

For all the criticism that the modern game gets, McMahon insists he still enjoys playing it.

“Jesus, I do, yeah. You’ve got to realise that there’s 30 players on the pitch and you’re one out of 30 that can experience this energy.

“Everybody in the stand experiences an energy, but not the same one you do as a player. So you’ve got to be grateful for that. I’m certainly grateful for wearing the Dublin jersey.

“You look at our fans, week in, week out, they’re crazy. They’re singing their hearts out every week.

“Again, we’re grateful for these things. We’re grateful that we’re able to represent our counties, our communities, our family, and our friends.

“Representing the wider Dublin community is what we play it for.”


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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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