Saturday 18 November 2017

'You don't expect frees in the opposing half to go over' - Brendan Maher on weight of sliotars

Brendan Maher
Brendan Maher

Michael Verney

Austin Gleeson's last-gasp 100 metre free handed Tipperary their second consecutive Allianz HL defeat but it hasn't changed Brendan Maher's mind about the current weight of sliotars.

Such is the quality of striking in the modern game, it's no longer safe to commit a foul inside the opposition's half with the likes of Gleeson, Joe Canning, John O'Dwyer and TJ Reid capable of punishing any indiscretion from huge distances.

Many have called for sliotars to be made heavier, thus keeping the ball in play more and reducing these monster scores, but Maher  is not one of them and Tipp captain is happy with things just the way they are.

"Giving away a free in the opposing half you don’t expect to see it going over the bar," the 27-year-old said. "It was unfortunate the way it turned out, but it was a fantastic score from Austin."

"It's a combination of players getting better and improving their striking. In the months of February and March no matter what kind of sliotar you have in wet and greasy conditions it has to be a very good strike to travel that distance.

"You can look at it from both sides, but I don’t think that the ball is an issue. I think the way the game is now it doesn’t need to change."

Tipperary now face a trip to Salthill on Sunday to play Galway, who they fell to in last year's epic All-Ireland semi-final, with just two points on the board but such is the League's competitiveness, a win would leave them in a healthy position.

The Borris-Ileigh clubman enjoys hurling each week and looks forward to trying to get their campaign on track after last week's last-gasp setback, "It was disappointing that we didn’t get the chance to get back level again," he said.

"The ball was literally pucked out and game over but we’ve another game on Sunday and another game after that so we’re just trying to make sure that we get a quarter-final spot. A good result  on Sunday will put us in a good position.

"The intensity has come up an awful lot in the League because there’s more on the line. You only have a few games and you have to try to get that quarter-final spot or else you end up like Kilkenny and Clare last year in a relegation play-off."

Brendan Maher will feature on the ‘The Toughest Trade’ on RTE2, tonight Tuesday March 8 at 9.55pm which details his experience swapping Tipperary hurling for the Adelaide Strikers cricket team.

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