Waterford have lost a good one and the sad thing is he still had more to give
When Ballygunner were down and out, Philip Mahony was the man to revive them.
He wasn't the type of wing back who'd roam up the field and pick off points for fun, not to mind a goalscorer, but when his club were three points down and facing Munster club elimination for a fifth successive year, Philip Mahony was the man who dragged them off the ground.
Defeat would have been a catastrophe for Ballygunner then. In the dying moments of a Munster semi-final, Philip Mahony ensured they'd live to fight another day.
A free-for-all by that stage, Ballyea had packed their defence and looked home and hosed when a 62nd minute 65 broke out harmlessly to the corner. The ball made its way back in, and Philip Mahony saved his club with a stunning volley from the 21.
What an unbelievable moment this was from Mahony in the Munster semi-final last year
Ballygunner looking dead and buried
Mahony keeps the flame burning with an incredible last minute goal, before they go onto win Munsterpic.twitter.com/BBeMsQA2S0
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) January 4, 2020
Ballygunner would go onto win extra-time and Munster, and were whiskers from an All-Ireland final that season, when the remarkable Ballyhale Shamrocks only just edged them in Thurles.
Philip Mahony's contribution stretched far wider than that inspirational goal, but that never say die intervention summed the man up.
For over ten years, he has been an incredible club player for Ballygunner, and a hugely influential and at times underrated half back for Waterford. His retirement, at the age of 28 comes as a huge blow for the county and indeed for new manager Liam Cahill, and it goes without saying that they'll be a while finding a replacement to fill Mahony's boots.
He was the ever-present that you always seen winning breaks and clearing off attacks and attackers. Mahony was plucky, gutsy, consistent and with his fiery style, he was a forward's nightmare.
An old-style wing back it could be said, Mahony lived in the rucks and wouldn't have been looking for loose, handy ball. Waterford had a deplorable summer of 2019, but some of that could be attributed to the loss of Mahony during their second round clash against Tipperary in Munster.
The floodgates really opened from there.
It was the second time in the space of five years that Philip Mahony was left nursing a broken leg, and maybe injuries were the straw that broke the camel's back. Mahony had his fair share of them but he always came back stronger.
Philip Mahony has tonight announced his retirement from intercounty hurling. Waterford GAA would like to thank Philip for his commitment and dedication to Waterford Hurling over the last number of years. We wish him all the Best for the future. pic.twitter.com/XkvhEJZzPX
— Waterford GAA (@WaterfordGAA) January 3, 2020
But in an increasingly demanding inter-county game, maybe it just wasn't worth it anymore for Philip Mahony.
He'll be some loss.