Thursday 22 March 2018

'I had to Google the lyrics of Brown Eyed Girl on O'Connell Street' - Kevin McManamon on All-Ireland celebrations

Dublin's Kevin McManamon dances on stage with Ann Grimes, from Dublin, during the team homecoming.
Dublin's Kevin McManamon dances on stage with Ann Grimes, from Dublin, during the team homecoming.

Tom Rooney

He may be one of the most potent impact players in the country, but Kevin McManamon still harbours ambitions of being a regular Dublin starter.

Under Pat Gilroy and Jim Gavin, the 28-year-old has repeatedly made a name for himself as a game changing super sub.

In 2011, he was sprung from the bench in the semi-final against Donegal and registered a vital point, and then, in the final against Kerry, the St Jude’s man majored as the Dubs trailed by four points in the last 20 minutes, before going on to clinch their first Sam Maguire in 16 years. He would also be named Man of the Match.

While he has continued to play the role with aplomb in the Championship winning campaign of 2013 and, indeed this year, McManamon hopes to graduate to the first XV.

Read more: Bernard Brogan: We celebrated All Ireland win with dance-off in a Dublin pub

“It probably is a part of my identity, but I’d like to be a 70 minute man if possible at all,” he said.

“It’s just the way the career went that I’ve sometimes ran into a bit of a wall around August and stuff. The management seem to choose a different role for me, so I just take it on the chin. Any way I can my funnel my bit on energy into the team is a good thing.”

It's an assignment he’s grown accustomed to which, he believes, allows managers to task him with it without the worry of denting his confidence. Other players, such as Alan Brogan, must adapt to being deployed sparingly after a career of automatic selection.

Kevin McManamon
Kevin McManamon

McManamon was duly impressed by Brogan’s effect when he was introduced in the final against Kerry.

“It’s probably an easier sell for someone like me as supposed to someone like Alan, who wouldn’t have been used to it in his whole career and had to totally readjust this year,” he said

“ I think we saw how well he did in the final with that inspirational point in the last couple of minutes, when he ran the entire length of pitch to stick the ball over the bar with his weaker foot to win the game for us.

“I’m happy to be that guy if that’s what the managers want. I don’t want to be that forever, but that’s the way the game has gone. When you come off the bench you probably have a bit of a leg up, because you can judge the game, so even if it is white heat, you can take a step back and be a little calmer.

“I try and pick holes in oppositions, so that when I do come on I can be more of a calm influence and not try and rise up and run around like a lunatic.”

He’s just about recovered from the celebrations the Dublin panel enjoyed after securing their third All Ireland title in five years, and could even be heard on O’Connell belting out a rough rendition of a Karaoke staple, though he needed the help of technology.

“I was singing for three days and we had a few great sessions. On O’Connell street, and there’s a good story to it, because I went up to the lads in the band and I asked them did they know this song and that song, and they said no.

“It took me around 10 minutes to find a song they knew. They ended up giving me a list of their songs and I knew Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison. Then I realised I didn’t know the words, so luckily my 4G was working, so I knew the first verse and during the chorus I was able to Google the words to the second verse.

“It just came up on time or else the crowd we’re going to get a rerun of the first verse. I did a good bit of singing- my voice was struggling for a few days.”

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