Ronan Maher of Tipperary during the 2021 GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Launch in Tullamore, Offaly.
Ronan Maher of Tipperary during the 2021 GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Launch in Tullamore, Offaly. 

Maher says Tipp have regrouped after Munster Final defeat


By John Harrington

Tipperary defender, Ronan Maher, is confident he and his team-mates have processed the disappointment of their Munster Final defeat to Limerick and are now ready for the challenge of playing Waterford in the All-Ireland SHC Quarter-Final this weekend.

The Premier County led Limerick by 10 points at half-time in that Munster Final but were over-run in the second-half of the match by a rampant Limerick who went on to win by five points.

"It was a huge disappointment on our behalf,” admits Maher. “I feel like we didn't show up in the second half of the game. But I suppose in the few days after the match, we regrouped as a team.

"By the time the game ended on Sunday to Tuesday, it felt like a long time. I couldn't wait to get back in. But I suppose we had time to process the game and we felt that we didn't turn up for the second half at all.

"Obviously that was very tough after putting in a big shift in the first half. We were really happy with our performance in the first half. It's about trying to get that for 70 minutes now."

So what was the cause of Tipperary’s second-half collapse in the Munster Final? Were Limerick simply superb, or were there some malfunctions in Tipperary’s own performance they need to learn from?

"I suppose in the second half, we didn't really come out like we did in the first half,” says Maher.

“We really attacked Limerick in the first half of the game. And we felt structurally really well set up well.

"And lads knew where they were going around the pitch and they knew where they were supposed to be. Obviously the power that Limerick brought to that second half was unbelievable and they attacked us from all aspects of the pitch.

"They were aerial dominant. We couldn't grab control of the game. And I suppose the real thing was the momentum shifted towards Limerick and obviously their squad is huge as well, they have a serious squad.

"But were disappointed we didn't turn up in the second half. Looking forward, we're hoping to get another crack at them. But we're looking forward to Waterford now and focused on performing for 70 plus minutes. We have to.

"There's a lot of things to take into account. The weather on the day and lads put in a massive shift. Listen, we were really happy with the first half but it's 70 minutes. You don't win the game in the first half."

Michael Kiely of Waterford in action against Ronan Maher of Tipperary during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A Round 5 match between Waterford and Tipperary at Walsh Park in Waterford. 
Michael Kiely of Waterford in action against Ronan Maher of Tipperary during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A Round 5 match between Waterford and Tipperary at Walsh Park in Waterford. 

Limerick have now beaten Tipperary convincingly in their last three Championship matches but Maher doesn’t believe those defeats have taken a psychological toll on the 2019 All-Ireland champions.

“I don’t think it does,” he says. “We all know how well we played in the first half of that game (this year’s Munster Final).

“Including last year, they have been fairly dominant over us and they have been setting the standard. Everybody knows that Limerick are the team to beat at the minute.

“The sooner you regroup with your team-mates after a game like that the better. It’s good to discuss.

“They got the win over us but the Munster final two years ago was the toughest one, where they annihilated us in Limerick.

“We’ll be looking to get a crack at them again, but we have to focus now on Waterford on Saturday and take it game by game, because this championship is ruthless and we can’t afford to slip up like that again.”