THE celebrations were understandably subdued in comparison to the other Leinster medal won earlier this year but success is always a sweet feeling.
Athy’s Hugh Mahon hadn’t represented his county before 2013 but within two months he has won two Leinsters and now he has another shot at All-Ireland glory.
“One Leinster in a lifetime is big enough. This is two Leinsters in six months like,” he said after helping the Kildare juniors to victory against Longford on Wednesday night. Mahon chipped in with two points from wing-forward in a typically busy display that capatilised on the space created in the Kildare attack.
“Colm Fagan dropped back there to leave a two man half-forward line and a two-man full-forward line so it was four men instead of six men inside. That meant there was more space for the likes of me and the other lads inside. It was easier to put the ball into space,” Mahon said, explaining Kildare’s use of Fagan, who was a withdrawn half-forward playing as a sweeper between the defensive lines.
“I love those positions rather than when it’s crowded out because I like using my pace to get the ball. If there are more men back, it’s harder to do that, you have to be cuter with your runs,” said Mahon, who exploited his pace to get clear for his second point just before half-time.
Kildare ended up with five points to spare at the finish but it was far from an easy victory.
“It was tough going out there. The kickouts were coming down and the breaks were hard to get. The ref wasn’t giving anything so you had to fight like dogs for those breaks. Then when you got it out into open play, you had to work it. Any ball you lost was going to come right back at you. It was a very intense game, going from one end to another. There was good, hard hitting in it.”
Emotionally, Wednesday night’s victory was nothing compared to the Leinster under-21 success back in April, but then this junior success has come about very quickly. Mahon came into the panel the night before the Wicklow game on 12 June while continuing club commitments have made for a hectic schedule ever since.
“You’re between the club and the county. I don’t like missing club stuff. I haven’t missed one club session so far between the juniors and this which is a good thing. We’re training with the juniors the nights we’re off with the club. It’s a hard juggle because you’re going every night of the week nearly. Nights like these make it worthwhile.”