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'No fear of Cats in Tipp' - Maher


Tipperary's Pádraic Maher. Pic: Sportsfile

Tipperary's Pádraic Maher. Pic: Sportsfile

Tipperary's Pádraic Maher. Pic: Sportsfile

Pádraic Maher probably goes to bed dreaming of landing meaty shoulders on Kilkenny men - just like the one that sent Galway's Joe Canning sprawling over the Hogan Stand touchline on Sunday.

This is his eighth season as a Tipperary senior, and September 4 will be his eighth championship collision - his sixth alone in an All-Ireland final - against the Cats.

The half-back powerhouse doesn't need to be reminded about his head-to-head record in this fire-and-brimstone rivalry - five Kilkenny wins, one draw and just one lonely Premier coronation in 2010.

"We're struggling to get over the line, the last number of years, against them. It's up to us now to turn the tables. Look, we're under no illusions - we know each other inside out at this stage," says Maher, fresh from helping Tipp squeeze past Galway on Sunday.

"We know we just have to work even harder, and bring a performance with that and see where it leaves us."


That lopsided record spawns the inevitable question - do Tipp carry psychological baggage into All-Ireland combat with their Black-and-Amber nemesis?

"Ah, no," Maher protests. "We don't ever fear Kilkenny; we never did.

"Look, we came up against them in '09, '10, '11, '12 when they were a top-class team. And people were doubting them the last few years and they just keep coming and coming. You see (on Saturday) night again, bringing in new lads and they're delivering the goods.

"We've a load of new young lads in too, and they're mad for action. And that will bring them on a huge amount," he predicts.

"After what happened last year (against Galway) we're just delighted to get out with a win, albeit there's plenty of room for improvement. But we're in the final, that's the main thing."