Ballymun Kickhams produced an immaculate 1-19 to 0-8 success over Ballyboden St Enda’s to land their first Dublin Senior Football Championship crown since 2012 last Sunday at Parnell Park.
Fittingly, Small brothers John and Paddy raised the trophy alongside skipper James McCarthy, a poignant moment for the two brothers whose father was a key figure at the club before passing away in the last year.
“It’s a very emotional win for the two Small boys for their father who was a great member of the club,” Philly McMahon said of that moment.
“There are other guys who are isolating who would normally be in the club every day. To bring some happiness to them adds extra value!
“I would love it if we went on to a Leinster and an All-Ireland. But, in many ways, this was the perfect end to the season. The teams we played against, we didn’t get it easy – Thomas Davis who were finalists last year; Na Fianna, Kilmacud Crokes – both formidable sides – and then to beat last year’s winners. To do all that with the performance we did, it showed this team just needed to click.
“In these circumstances and the pandemic that we are in, it’s great we can bring a bit of positivity and happiness to the area of Ballymun.”
Prior to the final, manager Brendan Hackett said this was the year that would produce the purest of champions with no one able to point to the exertions of the intercounty scene as an excuse for under-performance.
And so it proved. With the full focus of a half-dozen Dublin panelists on the club game, unhindered by the heavy legs that usually come when club comes calling, Mun were unstoppable.
“That’s the evidence,” McMahon added. “If the six Dublin lads weren’t playing the full intercounty season, it shows how well we can perform. Evan [Comerford] was brilliant with his kick-outs and has been pushed all year by Sean Currie. John has been a rock at centre back; we have basically one in each line with James [McCarthy] in midfield and Paddy and Dean [Rock] in the forwards.
“Ultimately, we only add to what the team is all about it. The nucleus of the team is the young lads who stepped up and the experienced lads there.”
McCarthy, meanwhile, said the 2019 league final win over Ballyboden provided a well of mental strength to draw from.
“We didn’t have much training for that league game. It was the time John and Paddy Small’s dad (Declan) passed away. We just thought it is time to get a bit of heart back in the club, so we said let’s give this a right crack.
“It was a dirty December night and we won a tight game. It meant a lot and brought a bit of heart back into the club and the team again – everyone back, unified front, and I think that made a big difference to us, I absolutely do. We went on from there,” added the Dublin defender.
“In other years we might have gone into our shells and not come back in those games.
“That gave us great confidence, the way we roared back from big deficits and turned it around. You can’t buy that in a team.”