By Brian McDonnell
PÁDRAIC Maher concluded a glorious afternoon for Thurles Sarsfields when the out-standing left wing-back was named man of the match by TV3 for his outstanding display against Clare. Tipperary concluded Sunday’s Munster semi-final with five Sarsfields players (Stephen Lillis, Pádraic Maher, Lar Corbett, Pa Bourke & Michael Cahill) on the field of play and it was right and fitting that one of that contingent was named as the most influential individual in this intriguing encounter.
Tipp initially trailed Clare by a significant margin in Páirc na nGael, but it was guys like Pádraic Maher who inspired the Premier’s nine-point win. Clare’s John Conlon tried to limit the influence of the Thurles man, but it should be pointed out, of course, that the Clonlara wasn’t marking flesh and bone. He was taking on a player who plays hurling like a comic-book hero. And, Maher even found the time to belt over two points from play.
“In the first 20 minutes I suppose we were not really awake,” Pádraic Maher told the assembled press corps.
“We were expecting that from Clare, we knew no one was giving them a chance, but thankfully we showed a bit of character there and the boys got in for a few goals there which took the pressure off us. Thankfully we got the win.
“We were under fierce pressure in the first ten minutes, but we know we have the forward line capable of doing damage if we get the ball into them. For a while we were sluggish, but we eventually got the ball into them. With the likes of Seámie (Callanan), Lar (Corbett) and Eoin (Kelly) we have plenty of forwards there to put the goals away and thankfully they did that and took the pressure off us. We’re glad to be in the Munster final now.”
Pádraic Maher complimented the Banner for their display while also highlighting the fact that Tipperary refused to panic against a rampant Clare side.
“I would have to give Clare great credit. They gave us a great battle and I don’t think that score line reflected the game in the finish. Seámie’s (Callanan) goal left a bit of a gap there in the end, but we would have taken a one-point win to be honest with you.
“It’s probably a good sign in the team that we don’t panic.
“We showed a bit of character and we knew we had the forward line and we just had to get it in there. Thankfully we started to get a bit of ball into them, they got on top there for a while and they swung the game around for us.”