Maher backs McGeeney to boost Tipp
TIPPERARY'S Brendan Maher believes Kieran McGeeney will be a "great help" to the county's hurlers in 2014.
The Armagh man will combine his duties as selector with the Orchard County with his role in assisting the Premier hurlers' preparation next year. McGeeney has already briefed the Tipp squad, with Maher admitting surprise that manager Eamon O'Shea had landed the 2002 All-Ireland winning captain.
"He's very impressive and seems to be a very determined, motivated man and very serious about what he does. He obviously will be a great help to us," said Maher at the launch of the new Tipperary jersey and the extension of their sponsorship with car manufacturers Skoda.
"Kieran wouldn't consider himself a sports psychologist. He's more working on preparation, even your attitude towards training, maybe some little things that you can do. He'll come down and he'll watch us and he'll see if lads need to be doing something or he'll tell you that you need to work on this or that.
"He's always been known for his dedication and motivation, and he's going to come down and hand over a bit of that experience and just to make sure that we're all putting in 100pc effort.
"I think it surprised everyone. You don't expect a footballer to get involved with a hurling team. It would be like a hurler getting involved with a football team. He's with us for the whole approach to training, he's obviously not going to be getting involved in anything to do with hurling.
"Kieran said that himself – he doesn't know anything about hurling really. What he does know is about giving 100pc on and off the field. He's going to try to bring his knowledge on that."
After a below-par 2012, Maher returned to his best form just as Tipp crashed out of the championship to Kilkenny, but that surge in performance has seen him named as county captain for 2014.
"The 2012 season was disappointing for myself. I would put this year's improvement more down to confidence and the mental side of things, that I wasn't going out with the freedom that I always have (in 2012)," he said.
"This year I took it on myself that I was going to go out and hurl with abandon and a bit of free spirit."
Meanwhile, Tipperary chairman Sean Nugent has revealed that the Premier County have written to the GAA's top brass in a bid to save Hayes' Hotel, which has gone into receivership.
Nugent also hinted that the government may intervene to save the birthplace of the Association.
"We have written to Croke Park with the facts of the case as we see it but we can appreciate their position," Nugent said. "Their business is playing games and it's not running hotels but at the same time it's a very special place in the hearts and minds of GAA people and we don't want to lose sight of that.
"I understand there has been discussion with some people in government circles on the matter. Other than that I don't want to pre-empt anything."