Thursday 29 September 2016

McManamon expects Dubs to prosper with favourites' tag

Michael Verney

Published 02/10/2015 | 02:30

Kevin McManamon is already looking forward to learning from past mistakes in 2016
Kevin McManamon is already looking forward to learning from past mistakes in 2016

The dust has barely settled on his third All-Ireland triumph but Kevin McManamon is already looking forward to learning from past mistakes in 2016.

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Jim Gavin's side were billed as unbeatable when heavy favourites 12 months ago but still suffered a semi-final shock to Jim McGuinness' Donegal, sending shockwaves through the capital.

Redemption was a word regularly thrown around this season but the dynamic forward feels the champions are now better prepared to deal with the added pressure which a back-to-back bid presents.

"We were built up to be so good - and I think a lot of us knew that we weren't ever that good. I remember reading something about Michael Darragh (Macauley) being this Hercules warrior running through the middle of the park," he quipped. "I started laughing. I remember reading it and I just said, 'How can anyone 'big' us up to be that good after one All-Ireland and a Leinster?' We were built up and we had the fall.

"When we're in a season, we're getting better at sheltering ourselves, keeping the head down in the bunker. You'd like to think that it won't get to us."

The St Jude's attacker declared the post-final festivities to have ceased having gone "off the rails a small bit" and he quickly settled back into club life just four days after the final.

Aspirations

Despite again excelling as an 'impact sub' in the closing stages of the championship, McManamon still aspires to nail down a starting berth and shed his 'supersub' tag.

"I want to start as much as I can but it's nearly become part of my identity to be that guy that comes off the bench.

"I'd love to start as much as I can and next year I'm planning on starting the last game of the year," he noted.

"But sometimes the way the year goes Jim has a different plan for me and there's not a huge amount I can do about it.

"It's easy to do when you play for Dublin, when you play for a team that are getting to semi-finals every year. I just take it on the chin and it takes me a day or so but there is a bigger picture."

His wholehearted approach to training and games meant the 28-year-old was particularly enjoyed this "special" win.

But he has no doubt that Kerry will bounce back despite three consecutive championship losses to Dublin.

"I take it very, very seriously. I put a lot into it. It is more than a game for me. It's a lifestyle, nine months of putting everything you have into it," he admitted.

"I think they're always going to be the superpower of Gaelic football, and while we're on a cycle at the minute where we've got a lot of good stuff coming, I know they'll be challenging us for the next few years."

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