Ballygunner’s Ian Kenny and Pauric Mahony celebrate winning AIB GAA Munster Senior Hurling Championship Final in Thurles on Sunday. Photo: Inpho.
Munster Club Hurling Final Reaction: Pauric Mahony
Fergal Hartley has created an inter county environment in Ballygunner according to top scorer Pauric Mahony. There was fifty people involved in this triumph.
“The professionalism in terms of nutritionists and gym work, twice a week in the gym up in Ballygunner. He would have seen inside the Waterford camp when we got to the All Ireland final and a lot of that would have been brought back into the set-up in Ballygunner. He’s constantly looking for the inches to get over the line and thankfully today that happened.”
DELIGHTED FOR THE BACKROOM
Mahony sportingly commiserated with each and every one of the Na Piarsaigh players before he joined his colleagues for the presentation. It was a team effort on and off the field to get them up those steps. “We’re long enough on the other side of that where we were down in front looking up. We were analysing back over the winters on what we did wrong and we could improve on. Fergal, as Shane said in his speech, is an incredible man. I got a phone call off Fergal during the week at eight o’clock in the morning talking about the match. That’s the level of professionalism he’s at, no stone left unturned. Delighted for the management, all the people in the backroom who have sacrificed years and years the likes of Mick Power, Muiris Phelan, Patrick O’Sullivan, Pat Haran and Eddie Flynn, lads who have sacrificed their whole lives and it goes unnoticed. They’re as much a part of it as the players.”
His father Mick was on the first Gunners team to win this championship. After Pauric emerged from the showers, he was still getting a handle on what they had just achieved. “It will be a few days before it really sinks in. The joy the minute that final whistle went with all your family, all your friends, all the supporters. A lot of the lads from the 2001 team, the likes of Tom Fives, Andy Moloney and Colin Kehoe, came up to me after the game. From a club perspective, you’re now categorised in the same bracket at those players.”
It took him 25 minutes to register his first score but he wasn’t concerned at his lack of involvement. “The key to this team is we have to be able to adjust. We said it in our meeting last weekend and again on Friday night that it could be a case in the half forward line where we’re so deep trying to get tackles, hooks, blocks and break up the play because we were very conscious of the damage they were doing to us over the last couple of years where there was a huge amount of space. We were trying to cut that out. We knew once we got the ball in our hand just to get it inside to Brian, Speedy and Tim and hope that they could do the damage.”
ALL ABOUT THE ESSENTIALS
The 26 year old sacrificed his own game for the benefit of the team. “We pride ourselves on getting the basics right, we actually call them the essentials. They’re the key things that you require to win a game. It’s not all about fancy hurling, especially in the middle of November. While conditions were great out there, it’s still tough on the legs. It’s about using your brain, using your head and just managing the game. I think that’s what we done. There was a serious level of maturity in our performance today.”
He had no issue with Stephen O’Keeffe striking the penalty. “We had that conversation early this year. I wouldn’t be too confident on the penalties so I was more than happy. He’s been practicing them all year, every training session just a few shots on Paddy Cooke. I was fully confident that he was going to bury it.”