Sunday 19 November 2017

Philly McMahon: 'Mayo will be driven but we'll be ready for them'

Philly McMahon
Philly McMahon
Philly McMahon

PHILLY McMAHON went shopping with his girlfriend on Saturday rather than watch Mayo and Donegal in the All-Ireland quarter-final that anointed Dublin's semi-final opponents.

Had he done so, he'd have seen Aidan O'Shea continue the habit of a season and tear football's most notoriously iron-stiff defence into confetti.

Which, when you think of it, is pretty relevant to his next likely task in a Dublin jersey.

"We're confident in the footballers we have in our own full-back line, me being one of them," he said on a general theme of the joys of full-back play, unbriefed and thus unwilling to address the O'Shea dilemma in specific terms.

"I'd like to think I'm competent to mark whoever I can in Ireland."


"We look after ourselves and whatever we do in terms of our preparation and we look at all the different ways and systems that we'll be coming up against.

"That's all we can do, if we start looking at anyone else we lose our own focus.

"The next couple of weeks will be about what can I do personally and what will I possibly come up against."

Last time Dublin played Mayo in the Championship, they won an All-Ireland final (2013). McMahon, who started that day having been dropped for most of the summer in favour of Kevin O'Brien, sported a big purple shiner afterwards.

Jonny Cooper and Rory O'Carroll - his inside back colleagues - were both concussed.

Just for good measure, Eoghan O'Gara tore his hamstring in a match in which Dublin finished with 13 fit players and many who played in it recall it as the most physically challenging they ever endured.

"No matter who you play in the semi-final of an All-Ireland it's going to be physical, everybody is going to be chomping at the bit to get the win," McMahon explained. "That's what you look forward to as a footballer, isn't it?

"You don't want to play and get hammered or you don't want to play and hammer teams.

"So I look forward to those challenges and battles.

"I didn't find it as physical," he added.

"I got a bang, an elbow and I got a little scar for it but it was a typical All-Ireland final I suppose, the one I played in (in 2011) before that was probably more physical.


"It's normally the backs giving out the bumps and the bruises but we took them for the team that year to get the piece of tin I suppose."

McMahon also stressed that Dublin harboured no great wish to meet Donegal, rather than Mayo, in the All-Ireland SFC semi-final, despite the perception that they owed the Ulster champions one from last year, when they were shocked by Jim McGuinness's team at the same juncture.

"To be honest, either/or," stated the Ballymun Kickhams clubman. "Wouldn't have minded either/or.

"People might have said Donegal because they beat us last year but no, definitely not.

McMahon concluded: "We just want to take whoever comes to us now and two games, take whoever comes to us."


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