Maher moves on from Tipp to take reins with Cuala
The disappointment of being overlooked for the Tipperary senior hurling job has been parked by Willie Maher as he sets off on his next step into management with his high-profile appointment as the new Cuala hurling boss.
Maher - an All-Ireland minor-winning manager with Tipp in 2012 - had been hotly tipped for the Premier hot seat before Liam Sheedy joined the race at a late juncture to make a sensational return and pip him to the post.
Maher also managed Tipp's U-21s and worked with Derek McGrath in Waterford for a year but once Sheedy entered the fray, he knew it would be difficult to prevail.
"I suppose I was very close to it and I'm a Tipperary hurling fan and that's the tribal nature of hurling that you'll always want a crack at the top job but you dust yourself off. Liam will do an amazing job because he's an amazing manager so it's in a good place," Maher said.
"There's personal disappointment but you learn a huge amount and I took a lot of solace in the fact that it was Liam that was selected and that I couldn't do anymore. You'd love to give it a go at some stage in the future and if it ever did come along that would be a dream."
His only focus now is on Cuala, however, and having met with the players last night he senses great hunger among them for the back-to-back All-Ireland winners to return to the summit after exiting at the semi-final stages of the Dublin SHC this year against Kilmacud Crokes.
Based in Bennetsbridge in Kilkenny but working in Dublin regularly with his new recruitment company (e-Frontiers Medical), Maher "can't wait to get going" as he replaces new Dublin boss Mattie Kenny at the Dalkey club.
"When you're after being to the summit like these lads have, there's a huge hunger to get back there. That's what really attracted me to Cuala, they're really, really good players but they're hungry as well."