‘It can be dangerous and send the wrong message to our younger kids’ – the debate over Dublin’s dominance

September 21, 2021 0 By HearthstoneYarns

THE POST ALL-Ireland final debate over the role population and funding has played in the dominance enjoyed by Dublin footballers has continued to rage and while it has not surprised defender Philly McMahon, it is a line of thinking that he believes ‘can be dangerous’ on a wider level.

Dublin footballer Philly McMahon at the official launch of the new-look Chadwicks brand.

Source: Jason Clarke

Dublin completed four-in-a-row with their victory over Tyrone earlier this month yet their latest success has sparked a debate over the effects on Gaelic football from the control they are currently exerting.

And McMahon believes calls for change in the sport are to be expected if a team enjoys a large amount of success.

“It doesn’t surprise me. I find it interesting. For me I would think a little bit deeper when it comes to this, what are we feeding into our young kids in the clubs and inter-county levels?

“That if a team is successful, you should look for other ways to beat them or you should look for excuses why you can’t beat them? You can look at the population, there’s arguments for or against on all the excuses of why the football needs to change.

“I think to be honest, and it’s very easy for me to sit here and say that because I’m part of the team that’s successful, but for 16 years we had to look at what we needed to do wrong, we had to look at the failures and the pain that we had from not winning the Sam Maguire, and funnel that some way to where we are today and what we’ve achieved.

“It’s not a hidden secret what the Dublin county board did, going back and putting GPOs in clubs. Look it these are the things that most counties are probably doing now. I feel it sells media wise. We’re developed as human beings, even as millennials, we’re consumer-based, we only really like listening to negative things.

“The fans won’t like listening to Dublin are great all the time. I understand that in terms of the media world, that’s what sells. But it can be dangerous and send the wrong message to our younger kids. That you know what, losing, pain and suffering, it should be a form of life and certainly it should be a form of sport. Everybody has different meanings on life and football. You’ve just got to respect them.”

Philly McMahon in action for Dublin against Tyrone’s Colm Cavanagh and Padraig Hampsey.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

McMahon is adamant that the good times Dublin are experiencing are an example of a cycle in Gaelic football, comparing their current phase to previous golden spells enjoyed by the Kilkenny hurlers and Kerry footballers.

“In sport there’s not one team or one person meant to win forever. It’s just the way it works and when you have a team that’s successful for a long time, you’ll always have people that want to change in sport.

“No different to the way Kilkenny were and no different to the way Kerry were when they were winning so much. It does go in cycles and again we’d said it numerous times, we’re not going to look just yet on what we’ve achieved, certainly I won’t be until I hang my boots up.

“People want to focus on the football side of things when the season is on, when it’s off then there’s nothing really to focus on, so let’s look at another thing we can talk about. 

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“That’s the way it’s going to be and it’s not ever going to change. If we lost the All-Ireland this year, the other way of looking at it is if a blanket defence team beat us, you’d be saying should everyone be doing that.

“Look the game evolves and I think it’s just about people learning and improving and getting to the stage where you can compete to win All-Irelands.”

The 2018 victory brought the number of All-Ireland senior medals in McMahon’s collection to six yet the volume of silver has not dulled his enjoyment of the latest win.

Philly McMahon celebrates after Dublin’s victory with the Sam Maguire.

Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“I was at a charity event last week, a golf classic for St Michael’s House. Just the joy that you see when you bring the Sam Maguire into a room. There was a young lad there who had his wheelchair decked out in all blue (for) Dublin.

“You can never under-estimate the joy you bring on people’s faces through sport. You couldn’t get sick of winning any of them. I’d much prefer that cup staying in Dublin than going anywhere else in the country.”


Philly McMahon was speaking at the official launch of the new-look Chadwicks brand, which took place at its recently upgraded Sandyford branch in South Dublin.

Grafton Merchanting, Ireland’s leading building merchanting company which operates brands including Chadwicks, Heiton Buckley and The Panelling Centre today announced details of a store upgrade programme with 12 Chadwicks branches due for completion by the end of 2019.

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