When the Ulster Senior Football Championship was launched, Justin McMahon was a virtual unknown.
Today he is not only an All Ireland medal winner with Tyrone but he is heading Down Under with the Ireland International Rules side and is in the running for a coveted Vodafone Allstar award.
The 23-year-old Omagh St Enda’s player has certainly achieved a great deal in a short space of time but he’s keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
“When I was asked by the manager Mickey Harte to play full-back for Tyrone, I agreed simply because I was delighted to get into the side.
“Competition for places had been fierce and I would willingly have played anywhere. But to now be going to Australia and to be talked about in terms of an Allstar award are added bonuses altogether,” enthuses Justin, one of the most impressive young players in the game right now.
It is an open secret that full-back has been something of a problem berth for Tyrone of late – but not any more, it would seem.
Justin’s majestic displays against players of the calibre of Kieran Donaghy (Kerry) and others have transported him up among the elite of football’s defenders.
His brother Joe had initially been named at wing-forward in the Tyrone side for the All Ireland final but was withdrawn to left-full-back at the eleventh hour and also performed superbly.
Now the duo, sons of former Tyrone ace Paddy McMahon, are heading Down Under together.
“It’s a big plus to have Joe in there alongside me,” smiles Justin.
But there was disappointment for the brothers when Omagh St Enda’s lost to Dromore in last Sunday’s Tyrone senior football championship first round tie.
Reigning champions Dromore won quite comfortably leaving the McMahons to rue what is the only downturn they have endured in recent months.
“We couldn’t argue with the result. Dromore showed that they are very keen to stay at the top,” points out Justin.
Two younger McMahons are beginning to catch the eye in the Omagh club colours, too.
Conor and Eamon are giving every indication that they could yet follow in the footsteps of Joe and Justin.