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Tipperary star Pádraic Maher forced to retire from inter-county hurling through injury

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Tipperary's Pádraic Maher, pictured here with the Liam MacCarthy Cup after the September 2016 All-Ireland SHC final win over Kilkenny, has retired from inter-county hurling. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Tipperary's Pádraic Maher, pictured here with the Liam MacCarthy Cup after the September 2016 All-Ireland SHC final win over Kilkenny, has retired from inter-county hurling. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Tipperary's Pádraic Maher, pictured here with the Liam MacCarthy Cup after the September 2016 All-Ireland SHC final win over Kilkenny, has retired from inter-county hurling. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Pádraic Maher has had to retire from inter-county hurling because of an ongoing neck injury.

The three-time All-Ireland winner made the announcement via a Tipperary county board statement this morning.

It brings to an end one of the great careers in blue and gold that saw the Thurles Sarsfields man equal the record of Nickey English and Eon Kelly, along with Limerick's Joe McKenna, for the most hurling All-Stars, six, outside Kilkenny.

He won his last in 2019, which was also the year of his last All-Ireland medal.

Maher was an inspiring defender, starting out in 2009 when he featured in league and All-Ireland finals in Kilkenny.

He began his career with Tipperary as a full-back, marking Henry Shefflin in that league final in Thurles.

He played most of his hurling between centre-back and left half-back and had a record of consistency that few players of the era could match.

Having to retire from injury is ironic given that he was rarely injured in a 13-season career with Tipp.

He played 61 consecutive championship games for Tipperary and was rarely substituted, spending less than an hour on the sidelines in that time.

He did pick up an injury that forced him off against Limerick in the 2020 Munster Championship but was still back for a subsequent qualifier against Cork.

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Maher also won All-Ireland minor hurling medals as a full-back in 2006 and 2007, Munster U-21 medals in 2008 and 2010 (when he was captain) and five Munster senior titles (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016).

Maher's retirement from the game will also end his involvement with Thurles Sarsfields who he lost a county final with to Loughmore-Castleiney last November. But he still won seven Tipperary championships with them.

"It is not the end I would have wished for, but the time has come for me to announce my retirement from hurling," he said.

"Unfortunately, I recently received medical advice regarding a neck injury, and I have been advised to step away from contact sport. It is heartbreaking to have to make this decision, but it’s the most important one for me and my health moving forward.

"Representing Tipperary has been my lifelong dream and I am truly honoured and privileged to have played for Tipperary for 13 seasons.

"I have made some truly great friends and met some great people. I have made memories that will stick with me for the rest of my days. While I truly wished this could have lasted a bit longer, I am glad that I can look back and know that I gave everything I had for the blue and gold jersey."

Maher's statement continued: "I want to thank all the Tipperary players I played with over the years, some of whom are the greatest to ever represent this county," he added.

"To all the management teams, backroom personnel, doctors, and physios, there is no doubt we were in great hands with you all involved. I am truly grateful for all you have done for me.

"The Tipperary County Board, the Tipperary Supporters Club, and the various sponsors, have never left us wanting for anything and I want to thank you all sincerely for your support.

"Tipperary supporters are some of the most passionate in the country and it was a privilege to represent you all.

"The GPA have given great guidance to me along with my fellow players and I want to thank them for their continued support throughout.

"What can I say about my beloved club Thurles Sarsfields. What you have all done for my career is unbelievable. The support I received, the great years on the field and the memories we have, I will cherish for the rest of my days.

"While I might not get to put on that famous blue jersey anymore, I will never be too far away from ‘The Outside Field’.

"To Scoil Ailbhe, Thurles CBS and Durlas Og, there are too many people to name but I want to say a massive thank you to everyone for their guidance and advice which helped the development of my hurling career.

"An Garda Síochána have shown me tremendous support over the years and I want to thank everyone in both Mayorstone and Henry Street Garda Stations for their ongoing support.

"My parents Paddy and Helen, no words can do justice here for what you have done for me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without your support. Thank you so much.

"One of my highlights was getting to play with my brother Ronan. We have made memories that will last us a lifetime. I will be your biggest supporter now and will continue to follow your already remarkable career with excitement.

"My extended family have always been a great support to me, and I hope I gave you many good memories to cherish over the years.

"My fiancée Claire, the support and sacrifices you made for me, you don’t know how much it means to me. I hope I can now repay you by giving you the time and support you so richly deserve.

"Finally, to the Tipperary team, I wish you all the best for the year ahead and I look forward to following you all over the country in what I hope will be a successful one for you all. I’ll be your biggest supporter.”


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