Tipperary captain Pádraic Maher was left “devastated” by Sunday’s defeat to Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final.
The Thurles Sarsfields man felt referee Barry Kelly “was a bit harsh” on the Premier County — a reflection echoed by county board chairman Michael Bourke.
Speaking to Tipp FM, Maher said: “I’m absolutely devastated — the lads gave it everything. I think we did the Tipperary jersey proud. The result didn’t go our way but it was an unbelievable (Joe Canning) score to win the match, on the sideline with five Tipp jerseys ahead of him and he still got the shot off.”
On referee Kelly, Maher said: “I felt Barry Kelly was a bit harsh on us. There were a few times when I felt the 50/50 ones, he was giving Galway and he’d even give the 60-40 ones we had against us. It’s going to be tough for the next couple of weeks but we’ll get back into the club games and hopefully the pain will ease away after that.”
Bourke is hopeful his Upperchurch-Drombane clubmate Michael Ryan will stay on as Tipperary manager for a third season.
He said: “Three years now, and one point between the sides. It just shows where Galway are and where we are.
“It was a tough, physical game but we have to live with it. That bunch of guys are here for the future.”
Bourke added: “From my point of view, as chairman, I’d be hopeful they (management) are the men to lead us forward.
“The shift they put in for the last two years has been phenomenal.
“Good days and bad days — this is a low day but they’re here for the betterment of Tipperary. They have a squad of players together that can work and be back here again.”
There may be additions to and exclusions from the Tipperary squad ahead of the 2018 season but Bourke wants continuity.
He said: “There’s always room for change but once the leaders stay the same, you work with that. That will be Mick’s call.”
Tipperary top brass could be in a position to clarify Ryan’s position at the September county board meeting — with Bourke also indicating that former All-Star Liam Cahill is the “frontrunner” to step up from the minor ranks to take charge of the U21s.
Maher spoke of the “strong bond” in the Tipp camp, revealing a huge motivation to produce a big performance last Sunday.
He said: “This group has taken so much stick this year, the management has taken so much stick. We wanted to go out there and prove we’re a good team. There’s great unity and even in the dressing room afterwards, there was a really strong bond within the group
“We couldn’t have done any more for the jersey.”
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