McMahon: Dubs potent 'Killer Bs' have helped put us back on track
DUBLIN are hoping that what selector David Hickey dubbed the 'Killer Bs' last year will once again prove a vital cog in their All-Ireland machine.
Much of the credit for last year's long-awaited title was given to the ferocious competition for places coming from the team's 'second 15', particularly in the Dubs' teak-tough in-house practice games.
Captain Bryan Cullen revealed yesterday that their second string has been winning some recent A v B games and that "players have been hopping off each other" in those internal training matches.
Corner-back Philly McMahon, who has reclaimed a championship starting spot against Louth for tomorrow's Leinster opener, also stressed the importance of the Dubs' edgy in-house games, which reportedly even came to blows once or twice last summer.
"I was actually on the B team last week," McMahon revealed. "You don't know if you're going to be on the As or Bs. It keeps it fresh like that and the B team have been winning a bit recently, though not by much.
"That's how you know if the intensity is good," the Ballymun defender said. "If one team wins by much then you know something's wrong."
"That's what was happening during the league, the As were giving the Bs a good hammering. But the Bs got together and said they had to increase this, for themselves and to help the As as well. You can definitely notice a change in the intensity and scorelines now."
There was a definite lack of intensity during Dublin's see-saw league campaign, but manager Pat Gilroy took some of the blame for that yesterday. He admitted that in their bid to introduce new tactics this season they had lost some of the intensity which was one of their major weapons last summer.
But it is clear the Dubs believe that intensity has returned in time for the championship. McMahon is particularly chomping at the bit after losing his championship starting place to a knee injury in last summer's opener against Laois.
He has an unusual second sporting hobby -- mixed martial arts -- which he enjoys in his down-time and believes also benefits his football.
"It helps your discipline an awful lot and there's a lot of strength and power in it that is very transferable to Gaelic football," he said.
The recent DCU graduate is now running his own fitness training business called 'BK Strength and Conditioning' in several Dublin GAA clubs. Some of his Dublin team-mates have also availed of this extra training. "A few of the lads have tried it, like Flynner (Paul Flynn), Mick Macauley, Davy Byrne and Eamon Fennell loves it, but sure he's pure vanity!" he quipped.