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'Mun focused on Sars wars

WINNING a first county title in aeons can seriously damage your provincial health. So goes the theory - but Philly McMahon doesn't buy it and nor, it seems, do his Ballymun team-mates.

Just weeks ago, Kickhams were celebrating a first Dublin SFC title in 27 years. But judging from Sunday's opening foray in the Leinster club championship - an emphatically straight-forward 12-point victory in Mullingar Shamrocks' home patch - refocusing on bigger goals has not been a problem.

"I don't think so," McMahon confirmed. "We've a young team so we're just taking it game by game. If you look too far ahead, then you'll slip up.

"But even though we're young, we have a lot of experience as well. We have All-Ireland medals and that. It was easy enough for us to focus in on the next game."

That next challenge is another road trip, this time a semi-final date with Sarsfields of Newbridge on Sunday week.

The Sky Blue defender acknowledges that carrying the mantle of Dublin champions brings a certain responsibility, given the recent impressive record of the capital's standard-bearers.

"I suppose everybody would have tried to put a bit of pressure on us," McMahon reflected.

"Sometimes you say it's bonus territory but it's not - this is what we love doing, playing football, we don't go out worrying about losing games.

"Because if you do that, that's what will happen, you'll lose. We went out to enjoy it and that's how it worked out."

He added: "There's no doubt that the Dublin championship is probably the hardest one to win. There's so many teams that can win it, year in, year out.

"The standard is so good throughout. And that helps going into the Leinster championship."


However, preaching the same 'game by game' mantra as his manager Paul Curran, McMahon has sought to downplay raised expectations of a Leinster title in the wake of Sunday's flying start.

"When you're out just training, you don't know what your level is at until you come out into a game. Obviously we're training and moving well, so we're looking forward to the next challenge," he stressed.

But the Ballymun full-back agreed that Sunday's display was good for confidence, "because you're stepping outside of Dublin. You have different surroundings, you're in different stadiums, you don't know much about teams and they're good challenges."

McMahon will be hoping for a busy winter on and off the field as he follows Jim McGuinness into the world of soccer by becoming the strength and conditioning coach at Shamrock Rovers.

"I'm really looking forward to getting involved with Shamrock Rovers this year," McMahon said. "I think it's a good club and it's got a good history so hopefully I can help the lads a bit."

As a youngster, McMahon was on trial with Nottingham Forest and through his company, BK Strength and Conditioning, he worked with Aston Villa defender Enda Stevens and new Hoops boss Trevor Croly.

"(Trevor and I) have got similar philosophies so we said we'd bang our heads together and see what happens."