Dubs’ winning mentality

by Karl Graham

PHILLY McMahon says the mental toughness of his Dublin teammates will once again be critical as he looks forward to the Allianz Football League Division 1 final against Kerry at Croke Park on Sunday.
Dublin extended their unbeaten run to 36 games last weekend after Jack McCaffrey scored an injury time goal in a 2-15 to 1-15 victory over Monaghan in Clones.
It was the third time the Dubs have produced late comebacks in the league this season and the Ballymun Kickhams star believes it shows the ever-present character within the squad to embark on their historic unbeaten run.
“I think mentally, we are tough and we know that we are going to play right until the end. We played Monaghan there at the weekend and before we scored the goal you have players running up to your face and celebrating. But you think ‘hold on a second, you think this game is over?’ For us, it’s not.”
Dublin last played Kerry in an ill-tempered draw in Tralee during St Patrick’s weekend. The boys in blue also had to make a late comeback then but most of the post-match talk was about how physical the Kerry players were.
“I was surprised with the amount of talk after it because we probably expected it, with it being Kerry down in Tralee,” said McMahon. “There was a lot of talk and hype about this unbeaten run and the Dublin fans all travelled so the atmosphere was electric.
“There was always going to be that physicality. If that’s the way they have to play to beat us then that is what they have to do. We can only control what we do. It is probably not the orthodox way Kerry is known for.”
McMahon also spoke about how he enjoys the new challenges each season brings in terms of how the opposition set up against Dublin.
“Every year, you are going to get different challenges. It was the mass defence a couple of seasons ago. Now it has changed. You’ve got to be open to all these challenges because if one team put it up to the team that is successful then the other teams will look at what they have done.
“You look at Barcelona and Chelsea in the Champions League a few years ago when Chelsea played real defensively. Other teams were looking at that and thinking if Chelsea have done that and played really well then that is how we should be playing against Barcelona.
“I’m not saying we are Barcelona but what I am saying is that when something works for an opposing team then, generally, there is a phase of that style sinking through to other counties.”

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