McManamon: Lessons of league final loss stood to us
IT'S the great contradiction of Kevin McManamon's 2011 that the final in which he gave a near man-of-the-match performance ended in familiar Dublin disappointment while the other decider, where he made just two albeit spectacular contributions, granted him his new Hill hero status.
The St Jude's man has done plenty of reflecting on his annus mirabilis over the past few months but little, if any of it, centred on the five points from play he kicked against Cork in the league decider. Yesterday, at the launch of this year's Allianz Football League, he came to the conclusion that the eight-point lead Dublin let slip that day against the Rebels helped propelled them to far greater heights.
"It was hard to see it at the time," he noted, "but the reason why we took the foot off the peddle was that we took our eye off the game and switched off.
"We were drifting and thinking we're after winning the league or where we were going that night or what it's going to be like to lift the trophy.
"Maybe there was an element of that where we weren't 100 per cent focused on our game and Cork punished us."
After the match, Gilroy mounted a stirring defence of his players in the face of fresh questions about their character and, somewhat prophetically, declared, "when we have the All-Ireland, some day, that's when we'll stop hearing that".
"There was no one in our group questioning bottle," McManamon pointed out. "I wouldn't say there was much emphasis on it in our team. I did hear that Pat wasn't too happy with some of the questions that were put to him but we dealt with it the only way you can."
The dawn of a new Allianz League campaign is also a fresh chance for McManamon to rid himself of the 'supersub' tag and establish a position in Gilroy's first 15.
"I hope he doesn't get any ideas that that is where I'm staying," he joked. "I'm hoping to be playing next week against Kerry.
"I've played a lot of league football in the last few years and it has stood to me come championship but it's about taking the next step. I wasn't able to start last year. But it's all about nailing down a spot and getting to the next level."
Last week, Kieran Donaghy made public his opinion that the first round of the League was a little too early for Kerry to meet Dublin but McManamon holds a completely opposing viewpoint. "I'm delighted we're playing them," he insisted.
"You know exactly where you're coming from when you play Kerry. I'm looking forward to it. I'm sure Donaghy is as well.
"We're not looking for bragging rights over Kerry. We're looking for two points.
"They're going to be up for it, coming after All-Ireland champions, just like we were in Killarney two years ago."