Paul Flynn's take on Pauric Mahony's missed free against Kilkenny is spot on 1 year ago

Paul Flynn's take on Pauric Mahony's missed free against Kilkenny is spot on

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It's a game of inches.

Hurling games so often come down to the finest of margins, a stunning save from a goalkeeper, a handpass on the money from an attacker, a missed or a scored free.

A free-taker's world is dominated by pressure, and it's how they react to this pressure that will define them, that will define their teammates, that will define their county.

Pauric Mahony is Waterford's sharpshooting free-taker, and he's one of the most reliable in the game.

The Ballygunner club man has the unique wristy strike that is required of a free-taker, but perhaps more importantly, he has the bottle to step up when his county needs him.

For the last two years, Waterford's All-Ireland dreams ended in unfiltered heartbreak via Kilkenny. Every loss is heartbreaking, but when a game goes to a replay, and ultimately boils down to the very last puck of the game to change the outcome - and you come out the losing side of it - particularly so.

This game boiled down to a last gasp Pauric Mahony free, from all of 80 metres, and though he had the accuracy, the sliotar agonisingly dropped just short of the posts and into the gleeful hands of Kilkenny netminder Eoin Murphy.

It's not too often you see Mahony missing a free, but when he does, he almost always bounces back and slots the next one. The man's head is a temple of calm.

Paul Flynn, a legend of Waterford hurling, commends Mahony's bravery to take on the frees.

Flynn was the county's free taker for so many years, and he knows the pressure well.

"There's two matches of hurling coming down to one puck of a ball, and the lad that's brave enough, to put himself on the line - it comes down to him.

"Unfortunately it dropped short. I would commend the bravery for taking the free, rather than the fact that it dropped short.

The difference between winning and losing is so, so fine.

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