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Hoops new recruit McMahon hoping for long, busy winter

BETWEEN his new commitments to Shamrock Rovers and a Leinster club SFC campaign with Ballymun that, judging by Sunday's dismissal of Mullingar Shamrocks, could run and run, Philly McMahon isn't expecting much in the way of a break this winter.

The Kickhams full-back has joined Celtic's Jim McGuinness and Bryan Cullen of Leinster in landing jobs at high-profile outfits in other codes by taking on the role of strength and conditioning coach with Rovers.

"I'm really looking forward to getting involved with Shamrock Rovers," 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."

The Ballymun man has a strong association with soccer. 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.

Former Rovers full-back Stevens made his Premier League debut against Manchester United last Saturday and acquitted himself well in direct opposition to Antonio Valencia, despite Villa blowing a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2.

Stevens travels back to Dublin from Birmingham as part of his pre-season regime and regularly consults with McMahon throughout the season.

"I've been training him for the last two seasons and I've been training other young lads in the academies in England. And Trevor Croly (new Rovers manager), I've been dealing with him the last few seasons.

"We've got similar philosophies so we said we'd bang our heads together and see what happens."

Of more immediate concern is the Leinster semi-final clash against Kildare champions Sarsfields on Sunday week. The omens are promising.

Back in their 1982 campaign, Ballymun also beat Mullingar Shamrocks in the first round before going on to reach the final, where they were beaten by Portlaoise.

And the bookmakers expect those sides to meet again this time around.

"We only got to the final that year, we have to win it. So I don't know if that's a good omen," said McMahon.

McMahon was reluctant to read too much into Sunday's 12-point success over the side that had stopped last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists Garrycastle in the Westmeath final, despite seeing Kickhams rack up 2-13 and Shamrocks kick just two points from play over the course of the 60 minutes.

"We'd been playing in dribs and drabs. So that game was about trying to go for the whole 60 minutes," he said.

"Sometimes people 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."

Irish Independent