Maher backs Corbett to hit heights again and prove his critics wrong
Published 27/02/2013 | 04:00
Padraic Maher believes criticism of his Thurles and Tipperary colleague Lar Corbett from a number of quarters in recent weeks is unwarranted.
Maher (pictured below) jumped to the defence of Corbett, who has come under fire even for travelling to New York as part of a Gaelic Players Association party to help rebuild the storm-ravaged Irish community in Breezy Point the week before Thurles Sarsfields lost their AIB All-Ireland club semi-final to Kilcormac-Killoughey.
Maher suggested he will "want to prove people wrong."
The 23-year-old is licking his own wounds after an 11-point league defeat for Tipperary to Cork in Pairc Ui Rinn on Saturday night.
But he is confident that Corbett is on the right track and had, in fact, a much better club campaign than he is being given credit for.
Former Clare manager Ger Loughnane had even suggested Corbett should be dropped from the Tipperary squad.
"That's a bit harsh. The lad is after playing a few fantastic years for Tipperary. He's been the top player for us every year and one day last year is after turning the whole thing around," said Maher in reference to the All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Kilkenny.
"You have to laugh at some of the stuff being said about him and what's going on, but he's keeping his head down. He's done a lot of hard work. He had a good year with the club, a lot of good performances," he said.
"When one small thing goes against him, people tend to jump on the bandwagon and go against him, but I have no worries about him. He's as fit as a fiddle," said Maher.
"He's a hungry man and he wants to perform. All the stuff that's been said about him for the last number of months, deep down he really wants to prove them wrong and I have no doubt he will."
Maher has described last weekend's defeat as a "big wake-up call" to everyone involved.
"They (Cork) took us for a ride really. It's the end of February, we're not going to get too upset with it, but we do know the bar is raised and we need to try and get up there. We have a lot of work ahead of us," said Maher.
Selected at centre-back on Saturday night in a clear signal for the future, Maher admits that confidence has been damaged by recent results including the Kilkenny game and the Waterford Crystal final defeat to Clare at the beginning of this month.
"Confidence will take a dent alright after what happened here last August.
"We're all experienced enough at this stage to know that we are good enough. We have proved that before, but it's just to get back there again.
"If you did produce a good performance and were beaten by a point or two things wouldn't be as bad, but the fact that we didn't perform at all.
"It's the second time in a row that it's after happening, so we want to quash that before it becomes a habit. That's why the next game is so important."
Maher says it makes no difference to them that it's Kilkenny up next in Thurles on Sunday week.
"I don't think it's a case of laying down a marker to Kilkenny, it's laying a marker down to everyone that we're not gone. No matter who we are playing next, it's a very big game.
"We can't afford to lose any more games or else we'll be dragged into a relegation battle."