TIPPERARY wing-back Padraic Maher has admitted he was fortunate not to see red following a high pull on TJ Reid in the All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny.
But he remains insistent that the damage he inflicted on Michael Rice's hand with a one-handed tackle earlier on in the contest was completely accidental.
Rice needed reconstructive surgery on his finger and faces a long road to recovery.
"I was lucky to stay on the field," admitted Maher about his pull on Reid, which earned only a yellow card.
"I suppose the referee took into account the fact that we were getting such a beating in the game and he just gave me the chance."
Of his tackle on Rice, he commented: "I hope he gets through it. That was blown out of all proportion. I like to play it tough, the same as everybody else, but if I was thought to be a dirty player I would feel very down about that.
"Hard and fair, that's the best way to play it and I'm sure a lot of players play it that way," added Maher, who lines out in the Munster club semi-finals for Thurles Sarsfields tomorrow against Sarsfields of Cork.
"If it comes to crossing the line, I don't think I do that. Hopefully people don't have that perception of me."
Tipperary must travel to Limerick for their Munster SHC semi-final next year (June 9), while Clare will play Waterford in Thurles (June 2), with the winner to face Cork in the other semi-final.
New Kerry football boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice has received the benefit of a home draw -- the Kingdom will open their Munster SFC campaign against Tipperary in Killarney on May 26, with the winners playing Waterford.
Cork and Limerick will meet in the Gaelic Grounds. Clare, who will be hoping new manager Mick O'Dwyer can work his magic next summer, await the winners.
New Kerry U-21 boss Darragh O Se has got the toughest possible championship draw as his side have to travel to Cork for a daunting opening game on March 13.
Clare, the reigning All-Ireland U-21 hurling champions, also face a tough away semi-final clash with Waterford, while Cork will meet the winners of Tipperary and Limerick on the other side of the draw.
The reigning All-Ireland minor hurling champions Tipperary also have to go to Waterford for their Munster opener on April 10.
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