The wing back suffered an horrific broken ankle following an innocuous incident during Ballygunner’s game against Ardmore. Mahony, who made his championship debut in 2012, was carried off the field in the second half and taken immediately to Whitfield Clinic in the county.
Shanahan said: “He has been outstanding all year. He has been Waterford’s most consistent back. For the effort he has put in throughout the year, it’s a massive shock for us. He took a year out last year and he came back absolutely hopping. He has looked after himself brilliantly.
“It’s just very unfortunate. He is a man marker and he would have done a massive job for us against Cork. Unfortunately, he is missing but it gives other lads a chance and hopefully they will take that.”
Shanahan also confirmed his brother Maurice will take no part in the championship opener against Cork due to a persistent back problem, despite playing in the second half of Lismore’s draw with Passage on Sunday.
Meanwhile, it is understood Stephen Molumphy suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury that saw him limp away from the relegation play-off against Dublin as he was substituted at half time during Ballyduff Upper’s loss to Mount Sion last Friday night.
Elsewhere, Richie Foley, Brian O’Halloran and Stephen Bennett are all taking the first steps to recovery after they featured for their clubs over the weekend.
Foley, coming back from a hip injury, started at midfield and got on the scoresheet for Abbeyside in their narrow defeat to De La Salle at Walsh Park. This marked his first competitive start of 2014 after making a second half substitute appearance in round one.
He earned a place against Kilkenny in the qualifiers last July but missed the entire league campaign. O’Halloran, shaking off an ankle problem, played the full hour for Clashmore in their four point loss to Stradbally in the Western IHC at Fraher Field on Sunday night. He also lasted the pace the week before against Shamrocks. 2013 All-Ireland minor winner Bennett was introduced in the second half for Ballysaggart during their intermediate draw against Shamrocks at the Ballyduff Upper grounds on Sunday night. He has previously undergone surgery on both hips.
The team return to collective training this week with a busy schedule planned.
They will ramp up their preparations for the Cork game with a challenge match against Offaly on Sunday evening at the St Molleran’s venue.