Tuesday 12 December 2017

Mahony will recover from Cats miss: McGrath

Pauric Mahony reacts after dropping his late free short near the end of the All-Ireland SHC semi-final replay between Kilkenny and Waterford. Picture: Sportsfile
Pauric Mahony reacts after dropping his late free short near the end of the All-Ireland SHC semi-final replay between Kilkenny and Waterford. Picture: Sportsfile
Waterford manager Derek McGrath
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Distilling a tie that lasted well over 140 minutes across two games into just a single incident can be a dangerous business.

But this winter, those in Waterford can be forgiven if they wonder at what might have been had Pauric Mahony pulled the Déise level with his free in the dying embers of their enthralling arm wrestle with Kilkenny in their All-Ireland semi-final replay back in August.

As a team, Waterford can look back on 2016 with some satisfaction but it might be different for Mahony.

Having seen his difficult free plucked from the air by Kilkenny goalkeeper Eoin Murphy, Mahony might carry a heavier load than most this winter as the county mourns a missed opportunity.

However, Waterford manager Derek McGrath insists he has no concerns about the Ballygunner man's mindset.

"I've spoken to him - he would have the utmost respect for anyone that would say he probably should have got the free," McGrath said as he was named the Gaelic Writers Association (GWA) 2016 Hurling Personality of the Year. The awards ceremony takes place in Dublin's Jackson Court Hotel tonight.

"He's actually said that he knew almost immediately that he hadn't given it enough. But Pauric won't be overly concerned about a story like that for too long. He'll move on and there's always another opportunity and that's what he's done.

"I think people don't like the word process but that's what he's gone through now - the whole process of missing and he dealt with it afterwards.


"He grieved for a while and he moved on. He's the kind of guy where perspective is brought in and he looks at things differently at times and he's able to move on. He's strong enough to deal with it going forward."

It was a cruel end to the inter-county season for Mahony who had started the campaign trying to work his way back from an horrific leg break.

However, he was back to his best recently as he shot 1-11 in the county final for Ballygunner.

And McGrath was full of praise for how he recovered from his injury.

"Sometimes you only miss the water when the well runs dry and it's only when someone is missing from a team, people realise how important they are.

"Pauric went through the mill getting back to where he thought he might be, I think the Kilkenny game, the first game, was probably the stand-out point in terms of restoring that inner confidence that we all crave at times, where the whole thing can take off after that. He's very mentally strong I have to say."

Waterford finished the year on a high when their U-21s took All-Ireland honours and McGrath is already looking forward to 2017 - not least because Davy Fitzgerald will remain in management with Wexford.

"The one thing I'm glad is I'm glad Davy is back involved because I think he absolutely loves hurling. He's obsessed with it.

"I was just watching back a bit of analysis of Wexford-Cork when Cork beat Wexford well last year in the championship down in Wexford Park.

On the Sunday Game that night, Dónal óg pointed to how well-structured the Wexford team was under Liam Dunne and that they were beginning to do the right things.

"So for me I think it's a match made in heaven. I think it's a perfect match, Davy and Wexford. I think Wexford have a lot of good players again.

"In terms of a management and in terms of a pressure-free zone, I think it's an ideal scenario for Davy in that you're in 1B and there's not the same stigmatised approach in terms of relegation and promotion that there is in 1A from your respective supporters.

"I think the Wexford people will welcome Davy down to continue the excellent work that I thought Liam Dunne has done already."

Irish Independent

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