It's nearly part of my identity to be seen as a sub, admits McManamon
Published 06/05/2016 | 02:30
New year but the same questions rear their head, at least as far as Dublin attacker Kevin McManamon is concerned.
The St Jude's man has always been a straight-talker in his interviews. He's stated before that nailing down a starting spot and losing the 'supersub' tag were his aims. It hasn't worked out for him so far.
By the time last year's All-Ireland final rolled around, he was on the bench replacing Dean Rock as Jim Gavin's first change.
He knows the drill at this stage. Now he's learned to take things as they come.
"It's all part of it," he said when asked to reconcile his lack of game-time.
"I'm kind of used to it - for seven years I have been yo-yoing in and out of first team.
"By the end of year I tend to be coming off bench. It's nearly part of my identity to be seen as a sub but I just do it at this stage.
"If I have to do it I have to do it, I'm not putting any pressure on myself. I'm happy with what I have done."
When he gets his chance these days, he takes it as it comes. He still wants to be there on the biggest days, still wants to improve as a footballer, but looking over your shoulder, he accepts, can only slow you down.
"I put too much pressure on myself when I did that in the past - not that it worked against me - but I just need to accept what I am good at," he says.
"It is a goal of mine to be joining that parade in September, to be contending for awards and to be starting week on week.
"I want to be playing and to be getting a really good 70 minutes, which I haven't done in the Championship so far in the big ones - that's one I'm looking at."
For a man lethal in one-on-one situations, the move towards safety first set-ups, particularly against a team with as much firepower as Dublin, hasn't suited his game.
"What you're faced with has changed over last few years but you just get on with it," he says.
"I want to see the ball kicked on and have one on ones - that's what I grew up with that's what I was good at growing up - but you just adapt.
"I have tried to grow a couple parts of my game. Seeing things as a challenge is probably the way forward."
And while McManamon has his own goals for the year ahead, he is confident the group won't get caught out trying to defend their All-Ireland title for the third time.
"The only thing we are concerned with is trying to get to perform well on the big day," he says. "In the years where we have done well we have had six big games. Nothing is guaranteed obviously but that is what we are looking for again."
"We're a very driven group and get a huge amount out of being successful. We're always looking to the next level."