Philip Mahony: ‘We’ve had to do it the hard way with the teams we’ve beaten’

 It was often the case that a provincial title bookended the calendar year, but you won’t hear Mahony complaining about more hurling on Saturday or Sunday week.
Philip Mahony: ‘We’ve had to do it the hard way with the teams we’ve beaten’

BROTHERS IN ARMS: Ballygunner's Dessie Hutchinson celebrates with Pauric Mahony and Philip Mahony

In time, Ballygunner will engorge themselves on becoming the first team in 23 years to retain a Munster senior club hurling title.

But a forthcoming All-Ireland semi-final battle with Ballyhale Shamrocks means the celebrations were shortlived.

“Yeah, it's brilliant,” said Philip Mahony of matching the feats of St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield, Blackrock, Newmarket-on-Fergus and Roscrea. “Something to look back on in a few years’ time. But at the moment we're just taking it game by game.

“It's a great achievement, Munster is a really strong competition. We've had to do it the hard way this year with the teams we've beaten. Especially that second half against Na Piarsaigh; we got great confidence from that.” 

 It was often the case that a provincial title bookended the calendar year, but you won’t hear Mahony complaining about more hurling on Saturday or Sunday week.

“It's great to be still hurling this time of the year. To be going in December. I always say growing up here watching the teams from Ballygunner when you're younger and when you get the chance to go out and play yourself you have to make the most of it. We'll obviously enjoy tonight and drive on with the Leinster champions in two weeks’ time.” 

Where once previous defeats were topics of discussion for Ballygunner, Philip Mahony says they no longer talk about them. “No, we actually don't. We used to for a few years but we kept losing so we said we'd change something.

“Look, I suppose it does drive you in your own mind. You do everything you can all year and when you're getting knocked back at Munster final stage, it is hard one to take. Look we kept coming back year in, year out. We're after winning three of the last four, with Covid we missed a year. It's very satisfying.” 

Mahony was delighted for his young cousin Patrick Fitzgerald who deservedly picked up the man of the match award in Thurles on Saturday. “He's a special talent, in fairness. He's working really, really hard. Since he was a kid, he's probably put more time and effort into hurling than anyone I ever know anyway.

“He's a great addition and he's working really hard. When he first came in, there was a lot of pressure on him too but to deliver on the biggest stage like this is great for such a young man.” 

Mahony’s brother Pauric spoke last week of being empowered by last February’s win over Shamrocks. The 31-year-old's own focus is on gleaning as much out of the remaining seasons in his career.

“Obviously you want to win, you set out when you're young, you want to win big things and obviously winning the All-Ireland with your club, you get a lot of freedom from that. We kind of realise too you only get one career, so you have to try and keep going as hard as you can for as long as you can.”

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