Wednesday 22 November 2017

Mahony: New work ethic can bring us All-Ireland glory

Philip Mahony: 'We’re just trying to work harder because what we’ve been doing for the last few years wasn’t good enough'
Philip Mahony: 'We’re just trying to work harder because what we’ve been doing for the last few years wasn’t good enough'
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

When Pauric Mahony crumpled to the ground in agony with Ballygunner, it was nearly 12 months to the day after his brother Philip had suffered his own season-ending injury while on club duty.

Philip suffered a double leg fracture and broken ankle but he's quick to say that Pauric is more unfortunate as he faces a long road back from a broken shinbone.

It's also a serious blow to Waterford, who head into Championship without one of the stars of their successful League campaign.

Add into the mix that another forward, Maurice Shanahan, is rated at 50-50 to make Sunday's eagerly anticipated Munster Championship clash with Cork, and things suddenly look awkward for Waterford.

Despite their handsome win over the Rebels in the League final, there should be little between the sides.

When they met in the Championship last year, Waterford held a nine-point lead only to be pegged back level. In the replay, they failed to show up and the Rebels ran out 14-point winner.

"What made it worse was that we were in such a commanding position the first day," Philip Mahony (above) recalls. "So it probably was a little bit harder to deal with having the replay.

"But to lose by 14 points in any game, there's a massive element of shame attached with that."

This weekend presents the Deise with the difficult challenge of beating the same side in consecutive games.

Whatever happens, Philip Mahony won't be offering excuses. Despite winning just the county's third League title this year, they've only ever been focused on their Championship opener.

"Cork would probably tell you otherwise but it's definitely harder to beat a team two times in a row, in any sport," Mahony said.

"They'll have massive motivation from the last day. But again I think once the ball is thrown in it doesn't make too much of a difference.

"We do have good momentum. We're unbeaten from the league. I don't think there's been any years where that has been the case so it's a good mentality to get into. It's all about the Championship at the end of the day.

"When we were training last October or November it was all geared towards Cork in June. It wasn't the League."

All eyes will be on Cork to see if they can find a way around Waterford's organised defence that confounded them in the league final.

Waterford have taken their fair share of bullets for their style of play but as long as the winning streak continues, Mahony doesn't care much.

"The media have been making a lot of the system but from inside the group, we don't speak of it that much.

"It's not something that is being driven into us - in between the four white lines you have to think on your own feet.

"We're just trying to work harder because what we've been doing for the last few years wasn't good enough."

And if they can maintain their high levels of performance, Mahony sees no reason why they can't kick on and win the ultimate prize in September.

"We wouldn't be making the effort that we are - every team is the same - unless we thought we had a viable chance of winning the All-Ireland," he insisted.

"Look back at all the games - there is very little between any of the teams.

"When you're training in October, your aim is to get to September."

Irish Independent

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