Ken Begley, J.J.Kavanagh & Sons (sponsors) presents Pauric Mahony with the Man of the Match Award, included are Paddy Joe Ryan, Chairman and Taylor Murray, PRO Co.GAA Board and Mike Norris J.J. Kavanagh & Sons. Photo Sean Byrne.
Co. SHC Final Reaction: Man of the Match: Pauric Mahony
Man of the match Pauric Mahony very nearly missed Sunday’s county final through a troublesome back injury. After the celebrations subsided, the Gunners centre forward admitted that his participation was in the balance up to half three.
IN THE BALANCE
“I was very unfortunate last weekend, I tweaked something in my back and it went into spasm. All week everything was going pretty well and then on Friday it took a bit of a turn and started going into a bit of spasm again. It didn’t look good and it was touch and go right up until throw in to be honest with you. Look, I think once you get into the game and your heart rate gets up and the adrenalin of these games kind of pulls you through. It might be sore in the morning but it will be worth it.”
His relocation to full forward yielded three first half points off David Collins. “It was something that we talked about during the year and it didn’t really happen. Fergal actually rang me this morning and said ‘look if you’re struggling with the back we might just put you in for a few minutes inside’. He said it to me after two minutes to go inside and I actually waited ten or fifteen to go in there. Brian wanted a run outside and I was happy to go in!”
Since his recovery from that horrific leg break in May of 2015, Mahony has won two county final man of the match gongs and twice topped the championship scoring charts. The 26 year old sourced eight points from frees and five from open play to complete this campaign with 2-66. Even with a bad back, it was his finest hour in a senior final. “With the balls I was getting in the first half, from Shane and the boys around the midfield and half forward line, it’s hard not to do something with it. We’re all in this together as a group. We’re such a hard working team and that’s what we pride ourselves on. We might have good hurlers in our team but we always bring it back to the basics: the hooks, the blocks, the tackles. and the turnovers. That has always been reflected in our performances throughout the year.”
This group have come a long way since that shock to the system against Passage. Five in a row took true grit. “This team is made of serious character. Five years ago, we asked ourselves some serious questions about where we were going with our hurling careers. The response that we’ve had in the last five years has been incredible. They’re an immense bunch of lads. People might say that Ballygunner have all the resources but the club lads start training back in January, February and March when there’s no fixtures even made and they’re up in the gym three or four times a week. That’s the reason we’re here today after winning five in a row.”