Friday 28 October 2016

Philly McMahon admits to void left by loss of Ger Brennan

Defender denies that Leinster run not enough for final push

Philly McMahon
Philly McMahon
Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor, Kerry’s James O’Donoghue and Dublin’s Philly McMahon

Philly McMahon expects Ger Brennan to return for Dublin next season though he accepts that the St Vincent's man's absence for the remainder of this year leaves a void of leadership in the group.

"Ger is a massive leader on the team," McMahon stated after Brennan opted out for the rest of 2015, having failed to make sufficient progress in his quest to recover fully from an Achilles injury.

"We're lucky enough that we've got a really strong panel there to fill a spot. Because he did play that role really well.

"I'm not sure in terms of medically, where he's at. But he's decided to take a little break, get back to the club and he'll be back at the start of next year.


"He's a leader on the pitch and he's a leader off the pitch. So he is a loss. But the competition is really good there. It's good that we have players to come in there.

"Ger was a great talker on the pitch," McMahon continued.

"A great organiser as well. It's something that I suppose, every player around has to try and do a little bit more of, especially the way the game is going.

"Especially for me, I'm big into coaching so I love seeing the game change. So having players around having to up their game and be a little bit better, it has to be good for the game in general."

Brennan hadn't, between injury and club commitments, played for Dublin since the 2013 All-Ireland SFC final win over Mayo and this year, Jim Gavin has, in Cian O'Sullivan and John Small, cultivated two strong options in his former position of centre-back

"They're very similar in my eyes, to be honest. That's why Jim has looked at both of them there. They're both very strong and athletic," McMahon outlined.

"They're good footballers. And they know the game. They're smart. They're smart footballers.

"It's good to have players with such quality fighting for the one position."

Small - a Ballymun Kickhams clubmate of McMahon - has flourished in his first complete season as a Dublin senior and started their first two matches of the Leinster SFC against Longford and Kildare before losing his spot for the Westmeath match.

"He's got a great attitude and he's got great hunger," McMahon explained.

"He got a little bit of a taste of inter-county football years ago and then all of a sudden it was taken from him.

"He was back with the club. Had a little bit of a dip. But that's what made him into where he is today and what he is today.

"You've only seen little glimpses of him but I'm sure, when he gets the opportunity, you'll see the real ability he has."


McMahon - who was speaking at the launch of the All-Ireland SFC in Legion GAA club - was also sharp in his putdown for those who surmised that Dublin's preparation for the beginning of the serious part of the summer was badly served by the matches they won at the start of it.

"A lot of people say it's not but they don't know," McMahon stressed.

"They're generally not players.

"And I think anybody who has been in a province that they're won and a lot of people think they've won it comfortably, they don't know what they're talking about.

"Because the preparation is really hard.

"Your preparation has to be 100 per cent all the time. Your standards have to be 100 per cent all the time.

"That's the difference between good players and very good players."

Similarly, McMahon isn't a subscriber to the theory that last year's Leinster campaign left them ill-prepared for Donegal in the All-Ireland semi-final.

"If you think of it this way, if Donegal had played us in Leinster, they still would have beaten us," McMahon insisted.

"We got caught on the hop, I suppose.

"There was a couple of things going into this season that we needed to work on and hopefully, we'll get a chance to show that we've done that," he concluded.

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