Sunday 4 December 2016

MMA fan McMahon sticks to one-to-one combat in Dubs' cause

Published 30/07/2015 | 02:30

Philly McMahon insists Dublin do their ‘homework’ for all opponents
Philly McMahon insists Dublin do their ‘homework’ for all opponents

Philly McMahon makes no bones about it.

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When he was growing up, football was a pastime for him rather than a way of life. He wasn't one for going to Dublin games. When the call came to play, he went. Nothing more.

Even now that partially rings true. He doesn't watch many games and only does the video work he has to.

There's no obsessing over opponents, just an appreciation for the work that has to be done.

"I don't actually watch many games, to be honest. I've never been a player that goes through games. I've never done it," McMahon revealed, ahead of the Dubs' All-Ireland quarter-final clash with Fermanagh in Croke Park on Sunday.

"But that's no disrespect to teams. You do your homework when you're supposed to.

"You look at teams. But I was never a big GAA fan, to be honest.

"I'd go to the odd game when I was younger. But I was just a player. I just played it, rather than being a spectator when I was younger."

McMahon's skill-set is broad. He'll often be seen rampaging forward, picking off a couple of points in games, but it's at the other end he does his best work.

Winning a personal battle against his direct opponent seems to give him most joy. Maybe that's not surprising given his background in one-on-one sports like MMA and boxing.

And those codes still have a hold on him.

"I couldn't put a time on it but it's probably six or seven years now," he says of his interest in MMA. "I did a bit of boxing when I was a kid too. Then it kind of went out of me.

"Then when MMA started to pop up in Ireland, a friend of mine, who is the pad man (Eoin Roddy) of Conor McGregor, he wanted to set up an MMA gym in my gym.

"He was renting my studio to do that. So I got more involved in it that way because I had to the time to do it because I was in the gym the whole time.

"But outside of that, I didn't have the time to train. So when he went and set up his own premises then, I only got up to it when it was off-season."

It's something he'd like to compete in down the line. But nothing will come before football now.

He's hitched to the wagon and will be until someone tells him to get off.

"It's one of those things that you'd love to do, to compete in it.

"But you wouldn't be able when you're playing (football). But I think the most interesting thing for me is to go and do a sport where you've no back-up from your friends.

"That's a big statement for anybody. To step into the ring and say, 'It's me against you'. I think that's a great thing.

"So it interests me massively, whether I'm too old when I finish my career, that'll be another question to answer."

Irish Independent

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