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Even brother of Kevin Mac didn't know if he'd start

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Brendan McManamon. Photo: Sportsfile

Brendan McManamon. Photo: Sportsfile

Brendan McManamon. Photo: Sportsfile

The Dublin football camp is so tight that not even Kevin McManamon's big brother knew he'd be starting against Kerry last weekend.

Brendan McManamon (right), himself a former Dub, made phone contact with his younger sibling last Saturday after Jim Gavin's official 'team' was announced for the All-Ireland semi-final - with no place for the in-form McManamon.

"He'd be private enough. He wouldn't even tell us whether he'd be starting or not," Brendan outlined at the launch of the Volkswagen-sponsored St Jude's Junior Hurling Sevens (taking place this Saturday).

"I actually didn't know whether he was going to be playing or not. Even though I expected him to play because of the performances he made beforehand.

"If I was picking the team I'd have him there, all day, and I probably would have had him there starting in the last year or two as well. But maybe I'm a bit biased."

Nailed on

This is the first year McManamon, 29, has managed to shed his 'super-sub' tag. "He's been nominated once or twice for an All-Star as a sub, which I don't think many people have done. I think he's nailed on to get one this year and I wouldn't say he's far off getting Footballer of the Year if he has a good final as well," his brother predicted.

And yet, despite his excellence against Westmeath and Donegal, he was supposedly omitted as Dublin and Kerry engaged in a Battle of the Dummy Teams ahead of Sunday.

"Strangely enough, I actually rang him to ask - and he wouldn't tell me! My own father didn't know!" Brendan revealed.

"I texted him, going 'I presume that team isn't the team?' … and he said, 'No, no, that's the team'.

"Now I thought, deep down in my head, that he had done enough to warrant a start so I was sort of 50-50. Yeah, he wouldn't tell me - and he won't tell me, the same, in the final."

The player who killed Kerry with goals off the bench in 2011 and 2013 duly produced a Man of the Match performance last weekend.

"I'd say they can't stand the sight of him now!" quipped Brendan who also admitted, with the benefit of slow-motion replays, that his brother's pivotal late shoulder on Peter Crowley should have been a free.

"I saw it in real time and I thought it was an amazing shoulder. And then I saw it in slow-motion and it looked a bit, you know, borderline. It probably was a free," he said.

But he disagreed that it may have cost Kerry an All-Ireland place.

"There's probably four or five moments in the match that could have swung it either way. I always fancied Dublin when they got the three points back after half-time," he said.

"I don't think that (decision) was necessarily a turning point. I mean, the ball still had to go over the bar ... Dublin, in hindsight, were still the better team and I think they would have won regardless."


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