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'As a player Philly was controversial and he's tending to be the same as a pundit'

Marc Ó Sé reflects on Philly McMahon’s comments about Mayo before their league meeting with Dublin on Saturday.

tempers-flare-between-aidan-oshea-and-philly-mcmahon Tempers flare between Mayo's Aidan O’Shea and Philly McMahon of Dublin in the 2021 All-Ireland semi-final. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

IN THE BUILD-up to Saturday’s Division 1 showdown against rivals Mayo, recently retired Dublin defender Philly McMahon stoked the fires with a column that raised plenty of eyebrows out west.

Recalling the full-time whistle in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final between the counties, when McMahon and Aidan O’Shea were involved in an altercation, he said “one of their players came on the pitch and grabbed me to get involved in a row that not only had nothing to do with him, it had nothing to do with me”.

Source: Revelation4:3/YouTube

McMahon went on to compare Mayo with England’s golden generation soccer team, adding that some of their players were “easy to wind up” and “more concerned with being seen to be standing up to you than sticking to what they were supposed to be doing.”

Writing for the Irish Independent, the Ballymun clubman was discussing Mayo’s failure to beat Dublin in 17 games between 2012 and 2021, plus their inability to win in seven All-Ireland appearances over the last decade.

He stated that comments thrown his way during games against Mayo that were among the worst he received on the field and questioned the strength of their leaders and team environment in comparison with Dublin’s.

“I don’t know the man at all, but the one thing I’d say where he’s 100% right is where he felt the Mayo fellas wanted to settle old scores against Dublin where they should have been more focused on the game,” remarked Marc Ó Sé on the latest episode of The42 GAA Weekly.

“If Donie Vaughan had stayed on the field and copped on (for his red card in the 2017 All-Ireland final), Mayo would have won the Sam Maguire. That’s the reality of it, but effectively that was the winning and losing of the final there and then. So maybe Philly has a point in those things.

“Maybe Mayo were trying to settle old scores instead of watching that game right in front of them,” the Kerry great continued. “But I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s the case for a lot of that team.”

He added, “Obviously there’s a lot of things he’s saying I wouldn’t agree with but certainly in that situation he has a point. If you’re going to be writing you’re going to have to be controversial.

“We’ve seen Pat Spillane and Joe Brolly down through the years, like them or loathe them you’re still going to read them. It makes great entertainment and maybe Philly is going down that route.

“I suppose that was the way Philly was as a player, he was controversial, and he’s tending to be a bit controversial now as a pundit as well.”

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Asked if Kerry ever used comments said by an opposing player or pundit as dressing room wall material, the five-time All-Ireland winner replied: “There was never anything put up on a wall, but we’d use any angle whatsoever just to get that edge for a game. Tyrone are the masters of it.

“That might be a personal battle or the whole team, whatever if was you’d use, but there was never anything about an opposition pinned up on a wall.

“Talking about personal things, it was something Kieran Donaghy mentioned the night before the 2014 All-Ireland about Brolly questioning the conveyor belt of talent coming out of Kerry. The famous ‘Well Joe Brolly, what do you think of that?’ That was Donaghy who took exception to what Joe had said and he obviously used that for himself.

“He also referenced it the night before the meeting. But there was nothing up on the wall. Any angle you could get, you’d use. That was Kieran’s angle he used and it certainly helped him. We all had our own things.”

To listen to the full episode, go to members.the42.ie.

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Kevin O'Brien

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