Maher driving Thurles to extend winning run
An All-Ireland hurling final triumph can leave you with lots of different feelings but a migraine is one of the more unusual ones.
Within minutes of returning to the jubilant dressing-room after Tipperary's triumph over Kilkenny last September, the thumping pain in Ronan Maher's head was so bad that he had to leave Croke Park ahead of his colleagues and return to his hotel room for a lie down.
"I just went to sleep for half an hour, I was fine afterwards. It all hit me at once," he recalled. "When I went into the dressing-room I got a very bad headache. It wasn't really getting better so I said I'd just go back to the hotel room and avoid the reception. I suppose there's such a big build-up to it and it's a very intense game. It was very warm on the field on the day as well so it could have been lack of hydration."
Maher was a revelation for Tipperary this year and that form has continued as Thurles Sarsfields have returned to a Tipperary senior final, seeking a sixth title in eight years, against Kiladangan.
"There's a lot of pressure on lads in the club, they're expected to achieve every year, that's the way the club is and it's not too bad.
"I think it's just because the panellists that are there for the past few years, they want to achieve a bit more, while you have the likes of Larry (Corbett).There's a huge a panel of players, we've a very good intermediate team as well, almost 40 training every night."
Thurles, the most decorated Tipperary club with 34 titles, haven't put together three consecutive titles since the 1960s when they reeled off five on the trot. As Tipperary's centre-back, Maher never felt the pressure of holding down such a position of responsibility because of the experience around him. "There is a lot of movement so I don't really concentrate on it that much. I was there last year and got a bit of experience from that championship."