Philly McMahon - Dublin v Tyrone


Dublin and Ballymun star Philly McMahon opens up about not being all in for the last couple of seasons


It’s been described as the Dublin Juggernaut. The effect the Dublin senior football team has had on the League and Championship for the majority of this decade. And for a long time to come the players who have been a part of the journey will be remembered. Hopefully as the greatest in the game. We have certainly been privileged to follow that journey with them since the first All Ireland win back in 2011. And since Jim Gavin took the reigns from Pat Gilroy in 2013, we’ve been served a brimming bowl of victories.

As the years go on, the retirements become less and less. Every player in that dressing want to continue to be part of history. And with Dublin going in search of that fifth consecutive Championship, it’s hardly surprising that no player hung up their boots during the winter. Every member of the 2018 All Ireland winning starting 15 have played a part, albeit small, in the 2019 League Campaign. All except one. Philly McMahon.

The Ballymun defender injured his third metacarpel while sparring in the off season and has been recovering for over two months. But he’s now back and recently played for his club against Thomas Davis. Now he’s fighting to get his blue jersey back for what’s left of the league campaign.

“I have to get game-time in the last two games,” Philly admitted to the Herald, “or I’d be struggling to get my jersey in terms of the start of the championship.”

“But that’s down to the management, if they feel I’m ready to be part of the squad.”

If the head’s not in the game it’s hard to be positive

McMahon has played a massive role for Dublin in the last four Championship winning seasons, but at the recent launch of the Coca Cola HBC Youth Empowered Programme, the 31 year old claimed the last couple of years he struggled to keep his interest in the game as things around him were just not right.

“I kind of didn’t really enjoy it, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have”, he said. “That would have impacted my physical attributes on the pitch. I wouldn’t have got around the pitch as much, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much, sometimes I just didn’t want to be there.”

My Dad’s situation was probably the main issue,” he confirmed. Philly lost his father Phil Snr last July after a year long battle with Cancer.

“I suppose I was looking for reasons not to enjoy the sport as well. I was kind of going to training, wanting to be with my Dad and, yeah, that was probably the main reason.”

Seven Celtic Crosses is the draw

Philly who turns 32 in September is part of an elite group of Dublin players to possess six All Ireland Senior Football medals, and now that he’s back to his old self, a seventh would be something he’d like very much. And there’s no talk of packing it in anymore.

“Any time someone in the media is talking about your age or your retirement, you’re like ‘Jeez, I didn’t think I was that close’.”

“But it’s always there and it’s always something that’s in the back of your mind. For me, I got good game-time last season; if I was on the bench I’d be a little bit closer (to thinking about leaving). So, for me, it’s game-time, game-time.”

“I’m hoping this year is the kind of kickstart to my next couple of years that I have left maybe. But it depends on the players coming through; it depends on if the manager needs your services; injuries and stuff like that.”

“I’m very lucky, I don’t drink or smoke and I do look after myself but staying injury-free is very important to keep the jersey.”

“If I have no adversities around me, and I’m not enjoying the sport, I’ll leave. Like, last year, I didn’t leave because I knew I had more to give. It was the issue of what was going on at home.”