Irrespective of how tomorrow’s Munster final plays out, Ronan Maher will point the car for Templemore on Monday morning to begin the first day of his new career.
The same as he followed Pádraic into the Tipperary half-back-line four years ago, Ronan has now opted for the same profession as his older brother, with day one of his eight-month spell at the Garda training college commencing on the far side of this Munster final weekend.
Having spent four years at Mary Immaculate College studying arts, during which he pocketed two Fitzgibbon Cup medals alongside six of the Limerick players — Cian Lynch, Richie English, Darragh O’Donovan, Declan Hannon, Aaron Gillane, and David Reidy — he’ll battle against at the Gaelic Grounds, the Tipperary half-back considered going down the teaching route. In the end, he opted for a life in the blue uniform.
“I would have picked Pádraic’s brain a small bit before deciding, but he’s one to keep to himself and wouldn’t say too much. He’s stationed in Limerick so he’ll be getting a lot of grief down there ahead of Sunday’s game. Mind you, he’s well able for it.
“Our induction is July 1. We’ll focus on the match and then look forward to going in, getting a routine together, and getting on with it,” said the younger Maher sibling.
Declan Hannon admitted as much about a teaching career prior to last year’s All-Ireland decider — it wouldn’t suit Maher to have the summer to himself.
The Garda profession seems to be very workable. For eight months you stay in Templemore, it’s 9am to 5pm, so I can go away then and train in the evening. There is a curfew to be back for 11pm each night, I think, but I’m sure I’ll find all that out on induction week.
The 23-year old continued: “Everybody is different in that some people like to keep active coming up to matches and other lads like to have that time off. [Joining the guards] is something I thought strongly about. The six days on and four days off can fall very well for you and other days, then, could be tricky enough, but all those things can be worked around.”
Although he enjoyed his eight weeks in New York following Tipperary’s 2018 mid-June championship exit, Maher was determined not to again find himself in the departures lounge of Dublin Airport this early in the season. Throughout the league, even as results were not falling their way, focus, he reveals, was all the time trained in on their opening championship bow against Cork on May 12.
“If you look back to last year after being beaten by Limerick in the opening round, it was a huge punch in the stomach. It kills the momentum from the very beginning. You’re chasing games after that, putting yourself under pressure.
"You could say you’re trying too hard, whereas when you win your first game it gives the group confidence, you’re not under as much pressure, and the thing flows. Thankfully, we got over Cork this year.”
That Tipperary finished the round-robin campaign unbeaten had much to do with Liam Sheedy’s return, according to the 2016 All-Star.
“He’s an inspirational man, someone we all look up to. He just doesn’t miss a slip. He has everything organised for us, no disrespect to all the previous managers but he is very good in that way. I met him for the first time at the end of last year, but the minute I did I was mad to get back on the training field. He has been a big help to us and please God we keep it going for him.”