Saturday 25 November 2017

Maher hopes final pain will drive Tipp on

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

PADRAIC MAHER returned to Croke Park last Sunday, a fortnight on from the devastation of losing the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

Maher was still hurting, but Tipperary's triumph over Dublin in the All-Ireland minor football final -- their first at that grade since 1934 -- gave him an almighty lift.

Hurling is still the county's bread and butter, though, and the players have thrown themselves into the club championships in an effort to banish the memories of their final defeat to Kilkenny.

"I suppose we're lucky enough that we got back into the club scene straight afterwards, because that helped take our minds off it," said the 22-year-old Thurles Sarsfields wing-back at the launch of the Xbox 'Gears of War 3'.

"But it might be November before it really hits us. It's tough to take -- especially when you didn't perform as well as you expected.

"Fair dues to Kilkenny, they performed spectacularly on the day, blew us out of the water.

"We're not going to dwell on it, though. The past is the past. All we can do is look to the future, bring the hurt into next year and really drive on.

"We pulled out some good performances over the season. Against Dublin, we didn't perform to our best, but we got over the line," added Maher about the close call Tipp had in the semi-final. "They threw everything at us, but we got there, we got to the final.

"Hopefully, please God, I'll get a phone call from Declan (Ryan) and get back on to the panel again for another year. Then we can sit down and plan out our year."

In the cold light of day, Tipperary have plenty to build on and few would bet against them having a real go at regaining the championship title next year.

Irish Independent

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