Sunday 19 August 2018

Maher: We can go all the way

Thurles Sarsfields captain Padraic Maher lifts the Dan Breen Cup after Sunday’s success in the Tipperary SH final. Photo: Sportsfile
Thurles Sarsfields captain Padraic Maher lifts the Dan Breen Cup after Sunday’s success in the Tipperary SH final. Photo: Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

Tipperary and Thurles Sarsfields captain Pádraic Maher has challenged his club-mates to build on their latest county senior hurling championship success and compete for Munster honours.

Sars won four in a row in the Premier County with a 16-point victory over Borris-Ileigh in last Sunday's Dan Breen Cup decider to make it eight out of 13 in Tipp.

But in that time Sars have conquered the province just once, in 2012 when they beat Waterford's De La Salle in the final.

Maher says it's high time that the Blues made another big impact in Munster, starting with a clash against the Waterford champions at the quarter-final stage on October 29.

Maher, who was named man-of-the-match against Borris', said: "We need to push it on now.

"Last year, we got a great win against Ballygunner and caught the following week (Ballyea).

"It's a tough championship but we really want to push on and back up these county finals.

"It's great winning them here but we think we have the potential to go a small bit further.

"Munster would be a great competition to win. It's a long road but we'll concentrate hard for the next three weeks."

Sarsfields are enjoying a golden period in the club's history, having gone 31 years without a win before finally lifting county silverware in 2005.

Maher insisted: "We don't take any of them for granted either. We know what our fathers and uncles went through, they didn't win county finals and tried their hearts out.

"For us to be able to come in and win a county final is great. We'll keep doing it for as long as we can because it won't last forever."

Former Hurler of the Year Lar Corbett played his part in a roving role, picking off two picture-book points for the winners.

Eighth

Tipp's 2010 All-Ireland final hat-trick hero is 36 now but picked up his eighth county senior medal last Sunday.

He said: "We're delighted to be here. It's a hard thing to do, to get into a final, and it's a harder thing to do, to win it.

"We're just lucky with this bunch of players that we have at the minute.

"We're under no illusions that Thurles Sarsfields are going through a prosperous time at the minute and I'm only delighted to be still involved with these lads that are up and coming, trying to keep into these lads in training."

Corbett added: "We knew what Borris-Ileigh had to offer. There was big talk around Tipperary about them this year, their management team, style of play, players they had, players they had representing Tipperary.

"We always find that if players are representing Tipperary, there's a great driving force.

"We see that with the likes of Mickey (Cahill), Pádraic and Ronan (Maher), when they come back they drive us on.

"We did run away with it near the end but county finals can go any way.

"We saw before half-time against Boris-Ileight, we went through a bit of a lull.

"They got three points on the trot and we knew coming out in the second half that we had to make a statement and fair play to the guys, they did. Then we just tacked on the points after."

The significance of winning four-in-a-row wasn't lost on Corbett, who lost four successive finals from 2000-2003 - three of them against Toomevara.

He recalled: "I started with the Sars in 1999 and I never thought I'd have a chance to win one.

"We couldn't beat the Toome' teams and we bring that hurt every time we got into a county final. We remember those days when we were crying in Thurles Sarsfields dressing rooms.

"We never thought we'd win one and never thought we'd be in this situation."

Irish Independent

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