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Philly McMahon Has Theory About Being Dropped By Dublin In 2009

2 February 2008; Philip McMahon, Dublin. Allianz National Football League, Division 2, Round 1, Dublin v Westmeath, Parnell Park, Dubllin. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE
By PJ Browne Updated
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Philly McMahon never got "full clarity" from Pat Gilroy about why he was dropped from the Dublin football panel for the 2009 season, though he does have a theory.

McMahon had made his Dublin debut the previous year under Pillar Caffrey. When Gilroy was appointed for the 2009 season, he decided to hold a regional tournament to trial players. During the final of that tournament, McMahon got into a row with the Alan, Bernard and Paul Brogan.

"[Pat Gilroy] would have looked to basically clean the slate from previous groups and said, 'We're going to give everybody a shot here'," McMahon told the BBC's The GAA Social podcast.

"Although, it was obvious who was going to come out of those in terms of the panel from that tournament.

"We got to the final and we played Dublin North West. They were probably the strongest back then because you had Plunketts with the Brogans, you Brigids with Paddy Andrews and all those lads.

"One of the lads got into a tussle and I went in and it was me and Paul Brogan. We had a bit of a go. We were physical - that's all I'll say.

"Then Bernard came in and me and Bernard were physical. I think poor Alan was coming in to separate us, and Alan got a slap. I remember feeling bad for hitting Alan because he just came in to separate us.


"That's the only thing I'd put down for Pat Gilroy dropping me that year. It was a massive moment. Pat's a great character. He'll tell you 'I made you because of that. Me dropping you that year made a difference for you'."

17 July 2010; Philip McMahon, Dublin, clashes with Armagh assistant coach Justin McNulty. GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Qualifier Round 3, Dublin v Armagh, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE


McMahon began to suspect he had not made the panel following conversations with others who had already been informed about their inclusion. He rang Gilroy for clarification.

The eight-time All-Ireland winner also believes the aggressive style of play which he was starting to develop at the time may have initially been viewed negatively as Gilroy.

"When I got on the team in 2008, there was a defensive coach," said McMahon.


"I absolutely loved him. He was the start of the way I played football for Dublin. He'd tell me, 'I want you to go in there and do your bit on him'. He'd tell me, 'He's going to react this way and that's what you want'. I'd go into Jayo, we'll say, and I'd be hitting Jayo.

"Then he'd go, 'Right, I'm going to test you a little bit more. I want you to go in and do that same thing to Conal Keaney'. He'd just look to see what way I'd do things and mark players.

"Then at that stage, there was this narrative that 'This little shit is going around hitting Dublin players and when he's playing club football, he's doing the same thing, and who does this fella think he is?'


"Maybe there was a little bit of that in 2009. Maybe that bit was getting back to Pat Gilroy, 'Do I want someone like this just yet?' What he did say to me was that was needed for 2010.

"He would have felt that physicality wasn't there in the backline. I was brought in because we had the poshest backline in the country with Rory O'Carroll and Mick Fitzsimons.

"I didn't really get full clarity of why he dropped me in 2009. I put it down to that row in the tournament with the Brogans, who I am very good friends with now."


See Also: Oisin McConville Would Be 'Shocked' If Dublin Win Sam Maguire

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