Thursday 19 October 2017

Up to Kerry how they play

McMahon noticed physical edge in Tralee and hits out at Farney taunts

Philly McMahon at the Allianz Football League Finals Media Day in Dublin. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Philly McMahon at the Allianz Football League Finals Media Day in Dublin. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Jack McCarron of Monaghan celebrates after scoring a goal during the Allianz Football League match against Dublin in Clones. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Sportsfile

The only thing that surprised Philly McMahon about Dublin's recent skirmish with Kerry in Tralee was the reaction.

"What are you expecting?! We're playing Kerry down in Tralee."

"There's talk and hype about this unbeaten run," he recalls.

"The Dublin fans all travel. The atmosphere was electric. Kerry got a good start and there always going to be that physicality.

"If that's the way they have to play to beat us, that's what they have to do. We can only control what we do. That's the way it is."

Quite what McMahon meant at yesterday's League final launch in Croke Park by 'the way they have to play,' he wasn't inclined to indulge in too many specifics.

He's not unaware of accusations of hypocrisy that would be levelled at him for denouncing an overtly-physical approach to the game either.

"There was certainly a bit of off the ball stuff but again, that's why the game is so exciting," he shrugged.

"I'm not saying I commend off the ball stuff but so what? Let's get on with it.


"If it's something that's really bad then let the officials deal with it but let the two of us go at it and see who comes out the victors."

Next Sunday, bear in mind, will be the seventh time in three years McMahon has faced Kerry in either League and Championship and each has been its own mini war.

He did, however, notice a flintier edge to Éamonn Fitzmaurice's team in Austin Stack Park three weeks back.

"They were certainly more physical in the last game in Tralee," he outlined.

"There was certainly more pulling and dragging on both teams, so this is - as I said - it's probably not the orthodox way Kerry are known for, but if that's the way they have to play to win games, that's up to them."

"My opinions on the way Kerry played in Tralee, that's what they had to do and it's not down to me to judge that.

"I'm a player, it's down to the officials to police that and that's it.

"Why would you be ashamed to win a game? And what way you try to win is irrelevant."

And he has seen them all.

Dublin have faced every conceivable plan, tactic and strategy over the past two years and yet they remain unbeaten.

Partly, the All Star defender thinks, teams are so preoccupied with stopping Dublin, they have neglected their own strengths.

"It possibly means that they're thinking a bit more about you than about themselves," he points out.

"We've never set out to do that. As a collective, have we gone out to contain teams? I'd be lying if I said we wouldn't be working on things like that. But it certainly wouldn't be to that extent."

Last Sunday, Dublin turned a six-point deficit into a three-point win.

When they come to evaluate this Dublin team in years to come, the repeated ability to do that will surely be ranked as their most impressive trait.

"I think mentally we're tough. We know that we can't stop," McMahon explains. "We play right until the end,"

"On Sunday, when they scored the goal, you had players running up into your face celebrating and you think: 'hold on a second, they think this game is over.'

"For us, it's not."

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