Provincial glory up for grabs! Pauric Mahony of Ballygunner (Waterford) pictured today ahead of the 2022 AIB Munster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship Final which takes place this Saturday, December 3rd at 3.15pm at FBD Semple Stadium, Co. Tipperary. The AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Championships features some of #TheToughest players from communities all across Ireland. It is these very communities that the players represent that make the AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Championships unique. Now in its 32nd year supporting the Club Championships, AIB is extremely proud to once again celebrate the communities that play such a role in sustaining our national games.
Provincial glory up for grabs! Pauric Mahony of Ballygunner (Waterford) pictured today ahead of the 2022 AIB Munster GAA Hurling Senior Club Championship Final which takes place this Saturday, December 3rd at 3.15pm at FBD Semple Stadium, Co. Tipperary. The AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Championships features some of #TheToughest players from communities all across Ireland. It is these very communities that the players represent that make the AIB GAA All-Ireland Club Championships unique. Now in its 32nd year supporting the Club Championships, AIB is extremely proud to once again celebrate the communities that play such a role in sustaining our national games.

Mahony delighted with Ballygunner's blend of youth and experience


By Cian O’Connell

The past, present, and future of Ballygunner are connecting. Success has that kind of an impact, but standards are being maintained.

Inevitably players have retired and moved on, but Ballygunner are still finding a way in Waterford illustrated by a ninth county title on the spin.

“A lot of that comes down to the new lads that are coming into the set-up,” Mahony says. “Number one they are coming in, they are not just happy to be part of the set-up. They want to be playing, they want to be on the team.

“Ultimately that is pushing everyone on. Also they are bringing a new energy to the set-up when they are coming in.

"Maybe that has given a new lease of life to some of the older lads that are there. Maybe there is just a nice blend of youth and experience within the team at the moment.”

That so many established players are willing to invest time and energy coaching in the juvenile ranks offers another source of optimism.

“To be fair to the senior team at the moment there is a lot of lads involved with underage teams in Ballygunner,” Mahony says. “If they aren't involved directly, they'd always be making themselves available.

Pauric Mahony remains a key performer for Ballygunner.
Pauric Mahony remains a key performer for Ballygunner.

“They are being taught the right habits from an early age which makes the transition from juvenile hurling to adult hurling a lot easier.

“Obviously we have seen that with the lads that have come through over the last three or four years, where they have been able to come in, to hit the ground running.

“Ultimately, while they might only be 20, 21 or 22 years of age, but all of a sudden they are taking on more responsibility. They are the leaders of this team.”

The club and community benefits, meaningful relationships forged. “It is big, that is set from the top within the club, from the chairman of the senior club the whole way down,” Mahony adds.

“I think if you can get your structures right, get your foundation in place it is easier to roll out a template across multiple teams. That, I suppose, is what we are trying to do with Ballygunner.”

Saturday’s AIB Munster Club decider against Ballyea at FBD Semple Stadium is the next chapter in Ballygunner’s story.

Na Piarsaigh posed stern and serious questions, but Ballygunner survived. “Obviously you take huge confidence out of the wins we've had over the last number of months,” Mahony says.

New Waterford senior hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald.
New Waterford senior hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald.

“Every time we go out if we bring what we are training to the matches then that is all we can really ask for from each other. It is just everyone doing what we said we'd do, if we do that every time we go out we cannot really have any complaints then.

“That was where we were at last Sunday in terms of the dressing room at half-time. Obviously it mightn't have looked great from the outside, but inside we were saying that there was a lot of good stuff happening on the pitch, that we just needed to do more of it. Thankfully that is what we did in the second half.”

Davy Fitzgerald’s appointment as Waterford senior hurling manager means significant interest is attached to the 2023 inter-county year. Mahony is looking forward to that challenge when Ballygunner duty is finished.

“All of the Ballygunner lads have had conversations with Davy, it is obviously very exciting for Waterford at the moment for all of the players,” Mahony says.

“I know he was at the game last week too, he is obviously keeping a close eye on the Ballygunner lads which is nice to see. We will worry about Ballygunner first, get a bit of a break before we go back at it with the county, but it is exciting.”

There is hope and expectation in Waterford with a real sense of enthusiasm according to Mahony. “Definitely, a lot of the lads have had shorter club seasons too so they are probably mad for road at the moment,” he says.

“With a new manager, who is proven, and has brought success everywhere he has went, there is a great buzz around Waterford. It is up to the players to listen and learn for the next number of months to get themselves in the best position possible for the Munster Championship.”