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11th Jan 2023

“You miss it so much when you’re out, so you don’t take it for granted anymore” – O’Mahony mad for road

Niall McIntyre

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and young Rebel Cathail O’Mahony is mad for road.

Having exploded onto the scene as a key member of Cork’s All-Ireland under-21 winning football team in 2019, he then settled onto the senior panel in 2020. He started well in 2021, standing out in a tough League campaign for the Rebels only for disaster to strike in their relegation play-off against Westmeath.

The Mitchelstown footballer tore his hamstring tendon that day and effectively, it put paid to the rest of his season. He missed the entire championship for the Cork footballers and as a hurler for Ballygiblin, he missed out on their run to the All-Ireland junior final in Croke Park.

Ballygiblin lost to Kilkenny’s Mooncoin that day but they’re back again now, with Cathail O’Mahony having played a key role in bringing them back. Lining out as an inside forward, he’s scored 2-19 in their campaign to date from open play.

“To win two counties back to back – it’s something I never really thought that would happen with Ballygiblin,” says O’Mahony now.

Cork’s re-grading of its championship structures has led to the anomaly of Ballygiblin making it to two All-Ireland junior finals in a row but it’s all the better for O’Mahony, who was very disappointed to have to sit out this occasion last year.

“It was a tough one last year, to sit on the sideline watching it, and for the lads to lose it.

“I was up in Croke Park that day watching it. I’ve played hurling every year and have always enjoyed playing dual.

“I tore the hamstring on the tendon, that was the big one, then I had little small injuries coming back.

“December, January, February, I was just doing the rehab on the rugby pitch. Obviously, you hate it then, you’d love to be out on the pitch but it’s stood to me so far so it makes you appreciate it when you’re back.

“You miss it so much when you’re missing out like, so you don’t take it for granted anymore,” he says.

After this weekend’s clash with Sligo champions Easkey, O’Mahony will turn his attention towards the Cork senior footballers. He showed just what a weapon he can be for them, scoring stunning goals against Offaly in the League and Limerick in the championship last year, and he’s hoping to build on it again.

He says that having John Cleary as manager for a second year in a row will be a big help for the Rebels in terms of continuity.

“It’s my first time coming back for a pre-season where we’re actually building on something, rather than starting from scratch.

“We have the same management, we are after adding Kevin Walsh to that which is a huge addition. The boys are flying it at the moment, I’ve only been in there a few times, but the training has been tough, in fairness.”

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Cork GAA