Known for his exploits as one of the top defenders in the province, it was his contribution in front of goal that saw Martin McMahon earn plaudits in Sunday’s Clare SFC Final.
Thirty year old McMahon effectively directed Kilmurry Ibrickane onto the home stretch in Sunday’s County Final when he struck the ball to the bottom left corner of Pearce DeLoughrey’s net for the opening goal of the game on thirty eight minutes.
To some four years may not seem like a long time but to football diehards in Quilty, Mullagh and Coore it felt like an eternity. Martin points to the attitude of players and injuries as the main factors why Jack Daly was not in their residence for the past few seasons.
“For us in Kilmurry we always feel that we’re in the shakeup to win it, the last few years just didn’t go well for us, one thing led to another between injuries and a bit of the attitude players had to take it on the chin that we didn’t turn up and do the right things, lucky enough there today, Cratloe aren’t as bad as that and we’re not as good as that but that’s just the way it goes.
“Both teams are counter-attacking running teams and once you can get the few scores ahead the other team has to come out and that’s not really both teams’ game”.
Kilmurry Ibrickane created history by winning five Cusack Cup titles in succession, the league success doesn’t rank in comparison. “I’d catch all the Cusack Cup medals and throw them away at the end of the day this is number one, there’s no point going around winning leagues and being overly competitive if you don’t win the championship the year is a failure and that’s the way it is for Kilmurry and that’s not being cocky or bullish about it that’s the standards we set for ourselves”.
He takes time to praise Éire Óg who ended their championship aspirations in 2013 and 2014 and Ennistymon who knocked them out in Round Three in last year’s campaign. This year was different and McMahon believes it’s down to a stronger panel and their management team.
“We came with a good attitude at the start with the lads that got involved, the best thing that we had all year was a strong panel and you could see that there today Noel Downes came on and has probably been our shining light when he’s come on he’s always got a few scores when he’s come on and he pulls his hamstring and he is off and you can bring on a player of the calibre of Johnny Daly”.
Had you put the question out there as to who would get the first goal in the Clare SFC Final replay, Martin McMahon isn’t the first or second name that would spring to mind. In fact the St Munchins secondary school teacher had two shots in twenty six seconds, one a wide and the other a kick that would turn out to be a turning point in the game.
“I was lucky, Keelan was after playing a lovely ball the one before it and I bunduned it wide so that’s why I pushed up for the kickout and lucky enough the ball broke and anytime you get around the semi-circle and you see someone in front of you you’re instinct is to go one on one and see how you get on, lucky enough it went in the bottom corner and that’s the way it was” he told The Clare Herald.
He is quick to inform us that it wasn’t his first goal for the Bricks and McMahon is confident provided he gets the right ball he can cause some damage. “I was messing with the lads Friday night we were training and Noel Downes popped me a ball in the middle and I said just do that the next day and I stuck it in top corner, once they pop them to me I can bang them”.
Whether he ventures forward or stays in defence Martin as ever will be a key figure for Kilmurry Ibrickane as they welcome Dr Crokes to Quilty for the Munster SFC quarter-final.