What has proved to be Dublin’s gain could very well have been the Republic of Ireland’s loss. Although Philly McMahon never truly sought to explore the possibilities that may have sprung from a trial with Nottingham Forest, the six-time All-Ireland winner remains passionately interested in the goings-on within Irish soccer.
An integral component of Jim Gavin’s fiercely successful Dublin side, McMahon, speaking on The Keith Andrews Show this afternoon, relayed his first-hand experience of working across the codes, identifying some key concerns that must be addressed.
Taking up a role within strength & conditioning training under Trevor Croly at Shamrock Rovers, McMahon had to contend with the absence of something he deemed essential to any successful set-up; culture.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” McMahon proclaimed.
“There’s no culture, there’s absolutely no culture [in Irish soccer]. You can have all the strategy you want, but if you don’t have a culture ... the behaviour, the values, the way players abide by things, none of it will matter.”
Revealing how Croly and his staff attempted to alter these limitations during his brief spell with the Dublin club, McMahon had few doubts that the malaise he had witnessed first-hand at Shamrock Rovers had since settled across the whole of Irish soccer.
“[The situation at] Shamrock Rovers is very similar to the international set-up now,” McMahon stated.
“The fans and everyone around the football community are getting pissed off with the FAI, and pissed off with the football.
“So, then it’s that we have to play this style of football, or put more money into the Airtricity League, but there’s no culture.”
Convinced that nothing will change until this basic tenet of the set-up is rectified, McMahon is excited by the prospect of how Stephen Kenny will leave his mark on proceedings. Crediting the former Dundalk manager with creating a special, winning environment in recent years at club level, McMahon sees in Kenny traits he recognises in Jim Gavin.
“One of the best traits a manager could have is to be a good listener,” McMahon stated prior to pointing out the importance Gavin affords to his players in driving the team’s standards and success.
“I think the international scene hasn’t had that for a while probably.
“I believe Stephen Kenny could be a really good man-manager who listens well, because he’s had players in Dundalk whose backs had been against the wall.
Having gotten in touch with a few “guys who’ve worked in there” and a number of players familiar with Kenny’s management style, he doesn’t profess to have found out the next Ireland manager’s secrets just yet. However, Philly McMahon remains confident that a man more familiar than most with where the League of Ireland falls down is readily equipped to bring about the necessary changes.
Subscribe to Off The Ball's YouTube channel for more videos like this, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.