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Last survivor from Tipp's 'Hell's Kitchen' passes away

Tipperary county chairman Michael Bourke has led the tributes to Michael Maher, the last remaining member of the county's famed 'Hell's Kitchen' trio, who died yesterday after a long illness.

Maher (87) was regarded as one of hurling's great full-backs and together with his corner-men, John Doyle (1930-2010) and Kieran Carey (1933-2007), formed a mighty defensive barrier in an era when Tipperary won five All-Ireland senior titles.

So fearsome was their reputation that the area in front of the Tipperary goal became known as 'Hell's Kitchen', territory which certainly wasn't for faint-hearted opposition.

Describing Maher as 'imperious', Bourke said that the Holycross-Ballycahill clubman revelled in his role as a full-back.

"As a player, the name Michael Maher was enough to put fear into the minds of opposing forwards," he said.

"Michael later proved himself to be an excellent and thorough administrator, who committed himself to Tipperary throughout his lifetime. His foresight and vision helped shape and steer the county to where it is today."

Maher made his first big impression as a member of the Tipp All-Ireland minor winning squad in 1947. He was promoted to the senior team during the 1951/52 National League. He won five All-Ireland senior medals in 1958, '61, '62, '64 and '65, and eight National League medals between 1952 and 1965.

He was also a regular on the Munster team, winning Railway Cup medals in '58, '59, '61 and '63.

He also helped Holycross-Ballycahill to three county titles.

Following his retirement he went into administration, progressing through the Tipperary ranks and serving as county chairman from 1979-82.

He was Munster chairman from 1989-92 and later made an unsuccessful bid for the GAA presidency.

Irish Independent