Venue furore won’t tarnish our legacy, says Dublin's McMahon

Dublin’s Philly McMahon has rejected Jim McGuinness’s claim that the Super 8s venue dilemma could tarnish the All-Ireland holders’ “legacy” and standing in the game.

Dublin look set to play two of their three All-Ireland quarter-final group stage games at Croke Park, effectively leaving them with two home games out of three.

The anomaly arises as all Super 8s counties are guaranteed a home game, which for Dublin means Croke Park, as well as a match at Croke Park and an away game.

All-Ireland winning Donegal boss McGuinness, the last manager to lead a county to victory over Dublin in the Championship, said people might suspect “a fix” or a “set up” if Dublin are allowed such an advantage.

He suggested they should “do the right thing” and agree to play just once at Croke Park, a move he claimed would “help their own legacy” within the GAA.

“I’m certainly not looking at what my legacy is just yet in terms of what we’ve done with Dublin, I’m still present in terms of what we’re trying to achieve,” retorted five-time All-Ireland winning defender McMahon.

But what we’ve done so far is not to be looked (down) at, we’ve achieved a lot and through that achievement we’ve helped a lot of people as well. So I think our legacy is in a good place.

Asked how Dublin’s success has helped people, McMahon pointed to his own charity work.

He set up the Half Time Talk charity in 2012 to help young adults in his native Ballymun develop greater self-confidence and employment opportunities.

“I set up a charity because I have a profile as a Dublin footballer, and I used the platform of sport to help people. There’s an example,” McMahon said.

“And we have other people who are involved in other charity work so we use our success the right way.

“So saying that our legacy is tarnished because we play games in Croke Park, maybe you need to look outside the box in terms of that sort of stuff.”

McMahon said that, in general, some pundits appear to be negative towards Dublin who have claimed five of the last seven All-Irelands.

If a person is constantly coming out and saying things, then you’ve got to say: ‘Well hold on, what’s your agenda?’” said McMahon.

“But this is the way the world works, this is the way the sport works. Certainly Dublin is in the media a lot. Even when the topic is not about them it’s about Dublin football. I certainly personally wouldn’t let it get to me. People’s opinions are theirs.

“I’m sure if you asked any of the other Dublin players or management would they prefer to play in Parnell Park or Croke Park, it wouldn’t really matter to us.

But it would matter in terms of the fan base and facilitating them. Whoever has an opinion around all of that, there’s nothing we can do. We’re here to play football.

Dublin have begun their last three Leinster campaigns with road trips to provincial venues. Prior to that, they played all their Championship games at Croke Park between the 2007 and 2015 seasons.

Asked if their residence there continues to present them with an unfair advantage, McMahon said: “When Dublin use Croke Park as a home venue they rent it, so anyone can rent it. It’s up to their counties to rent it if they want. It’s not as if we’re getting something that nobody else can get. If other counties want to rent Croke Park they can rent it. Just for us, with the fans we have, it probably makes more sense to put it in Croke Park.

“It’s very important that if we have a good fanbase (we can accommodate them). We already have an issue when we get to All-Ireland finals that there are so many fans that go to all the games and miss All-Ireland finals.

“So for us to play games in Croke Park, it’s a no-brainer. Why would you play in a smaller venue and not facilitate your fans?”

- Philly McMahon, Fergal Whitely, Aoife Kane, and Ali Twomey were in Ballyfermot Sports Complex at the AIG Heroes event, an initiative which helps support local grassroots communities by partnering with Dublin GAA and others to use sport as a means to build self-confidence and social skills in young kids.

To further promote these efforts AIG Insurance gifted GAA equipment to primary schools in the area.

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