Mahony came on as a second-half sub on Sunday.
# The Comeback Kid
After 316 days on the sideline, Waterford's Mahony relieved to return to action
It’s been a long road back but the Déise sharpshooter is hoping to return to peak form.

PAURIC MAHONY EXPRESSED relief at making his comeback to competitive hurling in Waterford’s draw against Galway on Sunday after an eleven-month injury lay-off.

Manager Derek McGrath gave him the nod in training on Friday night to wear the number 20 shirt and he was introduced to a loud reception on 68 minutes.

“I’ve been waiting a while and champing at the bit to get in there,” he said. “Once Derek gave me the go ahead on Friday night that I would be in the 26, I was just delighted.

“I have a lot of work to do and there’s a good few months of hard work ahead. It’s just great to get out onto the field.”

Mahony played his part in an exciting finish as he supplied the assist for Gavin O’Brien’s leveller on 72 minutes.

“I was a bit rusty,” he stated modestly. “I’ll have to fit in a few alley sessions on my own. There’s plenty of time to work on that.”

The 23-year-old spent 316 days out of action since his shin break in a Waterford SHC game with Ballygunner last May.

On his previous inter-county appearance, Mahony shot 11 points against Cork in Semple Stadium to clinch Waterford’s third league title.

“There’s times over the last eleven months that you doubt whether you are going to get back there at all. It’s a relief running out onto the field.”

Pauric Mahony Ken Sutton / INPHO Mahony has had to remain patient as he returned to full fitness. Ken Sutton / INPHO / INPHO

Mahony stayed patient and started to make considerable progress over recent weeks.

“The surgeon gave me the go ahead to start playing games about five or six weeks ago. To a degree, you could say that we are behind a little bit. We didn’t really have a target, just taking every session as it comes. Over the last couple of weeks, I started to pick things up and I was able to get into a bit of full contact.”

He realises that he must continue on that upward curve to force his way back into the reckoning. The strength in depth at McGrath’s disposal was proven on Sunday.

“Competition for places is phenomenal. It’s great to see all the lads coming in and showing that they are well able. They really stepped up to the plate.”

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