Dublin’s Kevin McManamon believes it’s tough to claim back-to-back All-Ireland titles in modern day football.
A third successive Championship win over Kerry last month ensured Sam Maguire failed to return to the Kingdom, while 12 months ago, Dublin lost out on Gaelic football’s top prize, after Donegal forced their exit in the semi-final.
McManamon revealed yesterday that he felt Dublin weren’t going to reach the heights of 2013 last year, and that they had to work incredibly hard to get back to the summit this time around.
“It’s hard to compare them. It had that bit of sweetness, because we had a real downer last year when we were really built up. In 2013 we never really were favourites. It’s nice to get that bit of redemption from last year.
“I wouldn’t really compare them. Our first one was very, very special for all of us — personally as well. I don’t think we would ever reach the heights of 2011. On a rainy day and to win one – an ugly one was nice. Last year we were built up to be so good, and I think a lot of us knew that we weren’t ever that good,” he said.
“I remember reading something about Michael Darragh Macauley being this ‘Hercules warrior’ running through the middle of the park and I started laughing.
“I remember reading it and saying how could anyone build us up to be that good after winning one All-Ireland and a Leinster.
“Sure enough we had to fall then. We were built up and had to fall. It was a tricky period after that semi-final.”
McManamon’s Dublin team-mate James McCarthy used the negative press in the wake of that six-point loss to Donegal to fuel his championship ambitions for 2015, but McManamon took inspiration from other sources.
“I don’t try and listen to it,” he said. I know what James is trying to get at and we do have guys there that like the negatives and using them. I try and stay away from it and not try and listen to it.
“I remember the Ó Sé brothers saying that they used to love it when someone said something bad about them. They would use it, and no better men to do it. I’d say Maccer would be of that kind of ilk, but it wouldn’t be my style. I would be motivated in a different way.”
With a third All-Ireland success fresh in his mind, McManamon isn’t keen to look too far ahead, and while he knows the favourites’ tag will be lingering around the Dubs once again, he is aware of an increasing mindset to shelter themselves from external pressures.
“I haven’t really thought about it too much yet. I assume we will be one of the favourites and we will just take it on the chin. When we are in season we are good, and we are getting better at sheltering ourselves from it. Keeping the head down in the bunker. You would like to think that it wouldn’t get to us.”
It’s from one bunker to another for McManamon and the rest of the camp, who with All-Ireland dreams realised once again, focus turns to the club championships.
Judes face into action on Saturday evening, when they take on former All-Ireland club champions St Brigid’s at 5pm in O’Toole Park.
The 28-year-old is delighted to be back in the mix with his Tymon Park colleagues once more, and says a two-week break was sufficient.
“We enjoyed the week. We are back into a bunker now for the club championship, so it’s a little bit messy, but it’s all a part of it.
“We didn’t park it, but it’s just the celebrations are over and the madness is over!” “Two weeks isn’t the worst. I saw the Kerry guys having to play games at the weekend and I felt sorry for them.
“You could go off the rails a small bit, so I’m glad to be back to it. I went training on Thursday just to get out of the house. I did a bit and we had a game at the weekend, so it’s nice to get back in.
“My brother and some of my best friends are playing with the club. I got a call on Thursday saying ‘don’t forget about us’. That’s fair enough and I went back.”
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