Paul Joseph McMahon is a product of the Nottinghamshire Academy – in 1994 he captained the county Under-11 side, and later England’s Under 19s –and was regarded as an off-spinner of great potential. He used his height and a classical action to obtain good loop and genuine spin, allied to impressive control. He played for England Under-19s in the 2002 World Cup in New Zealand and was generally regarded as England's best bowler in an otherwise disappointing campaign.
And yet, few young off-spinners succeed without some trying experiences; the best known Notts off-spinners are Hemmings, Wells, White and Smales – each of whom had years of apprenticeship with other counties prior to arriving at Trent Bridge.
In 2002 he was on the playing staff at Trent Bridge and made two Championship appearances before going up to Wadham College, Oxford, where he won his blue in all three years and led the University in 2004 and 2005.
During those seasons he returned to Notts in his summer vacations, but it was not until 2006 that he was available for the full summer at Trent Bridge. He captained the seconds and was often seen in the Wollaton side, bowling in tandem with his father, a left arm spinner.
Meanwhile, the seam-friendly conditions at Trent Bridge, and the presence of Stuart MacGill as overseas player restricted his first-team appearances from 2002 to 2004. Despite MacGill's departure before the 2005 season, the signing of Graeme Swann limited McMahon's opportunities and he was released at the end of 2006.
McMahon moved into Minor Counties cricket, representing both Oxfordshire and Cambridge until 2018.