Pictured is Tipperary hurler and All-Star, Pádraic Maher, at the announcement of the new naming rights partnership between FBD Insurance, Ireland’s largest home-grown insurer, and Tipperary’s Semple Stadium. The 5-year deal will see the stadium renamed as FBD Semple Stadium.
Pictured is Tipperary hurler and All-Star, Pádraic Maher, at the announcement of the new naming rights partnership between FBD Insurance, Ireland’s largest home-grown insurer, and Tipperary’s Semple Stadium. The 5-year deal will see the stadium renamed as FBD Semple Stadium. 

Pádraic Maher urges young guns to make Tipp team their own


By John Harrington

Long-serving Tipperary defender, Pádraic Maher, has urged the younger members of the Premier County’s senior hurling panel to drive the team forward in 2022.

The Thurles Sarsfields man has committed to a 14th season in the blue and gold and has long been one of the foremost leaders in this Tipperary team.

But if the Premier County are to be successful in 2022, he believes the younger players in the panel will have to take greater ownership of the team.

"They won (U-21/U-20) All-Irelands in 2018 and '19 and it's definitely time for them to step up and make this team their team,” said Maher today at the announcement of FBD Insurance’s title sponsorship of Semple Stadium.

“Time for them really drive it on to the next level. They're all good enough, have had success, and are a great bunch of young lads. Very dedicated. It would be great to see them bring it on to another level.

“That's one of the reasons why I'm happy enough to hang around, so as to help them as best I can, both on and off the pitch to guide them through training.

“We've been down now for the past two years so it would be great if we could get up to the top table again. I've no doubt that these young lads are the ones to drive it on and I'd love nothing more than to be a small part of that.”

Maher won’t feature himself for Tipperary in the opening rounds of the Allianz Leagues as he rehabs a couple of injuries he sustained during Thurles Sarsfields’ run to the Tipperary SHC Final.

He played through the pain barrier on a badly damaged ankle from the quarter-final stages of the club campaign and also nursed a niggling thumb injury.

Both injuries now need some rest and rehabilitation, but Maher is already looking forward to testing himself at the highest level again.

“I was going to play out the club campaign first to see how I felt, to see whether I was playing to the level I need to be playing at. I was happy enough," said Maher when asked whether he had to think much about committing to another year of inter-county hurling.

"I felt physically great, mentally great and was showing good form on the pitch.

“I still feel I have something to offer the group in some capacity. I wouldn't be going back if I didn't think that. I don't want to be getting in the way of any off the younger lads.

“There is still something in my heart and in the back of my mind that I have something to offer. I'll give it another crack.”

Padraic Maher of Tipperary in action against Shane Bannett of Waterford during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Tipperary and Waterford at Pairc Ui Chaoimh in Cork. 
Padraic Maher of Tipperary in action against Shane Bannett of Waterford during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Tipperary and Waterford at Pairc Ui Chaoimh in Cork. 

Maher revealed today that another Tipperary veteran, Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher, is also close to making a return to the blue and gold for the first time since rupturing his Achilles in training last summer.

“He's great, he's flying fit, he looks very fit and strong,” says Maher of ‘Bonner’. “I think he's gradually bringing himself back in. I'd say he's not far off being involved with the whole group in every drill in training and that. He's a very determined man.

“He said to me that he's after missing two seasons already in the last number of years with injuries so he's raring to go. It'll be great to have him back at 100% because he's a massive asset to Tipperary hurling.

“Supporters should be looking forward to seeing Bonnar back this year because he's a hungry man, he's mad for road. It will be great to have him back, serious addition.”

Maher admits he’s “licking his lips” at the thought of the return of the Round Robin format to the Munster Senior Hurling Championship this year.

He’ll turn 33 next month but he remains driven to win silverware with Tipperary and is enjoying his hurling more than ever.

“For me it has always been about trying to win as much as possible,” he says. “That's why you're so dedicated to it. As the years go on you appreciate being involved that much more and how lucky we are to be able to go out to Dr Morris Park, Semple Stadium and train every evening or going playing games every weekend.

“As I get older I appreciate it more. While you do keep taking it serious when you have to take it serious, you do try enjoy it that bit more because early on and throughout my career I took it so serious it was life or death with hurling.

“As I got older and experienced different things in life you definitely appreciate it more and relax a bit more, just enjoy the whole process. That's why I'm going back for another year now.

“When it's gone from you it's gone and that's it. The whole chapter is closed. So I'll enjoy as much of it while I can when I'm physically able I suppose.”