Tipperary may err on the side of the traditional but Ronan Maher says they know enough about Waterford to adapt to what they present them in Limerick on Sunday.
“Everyone knows their patch and try and keep to that position as well. If you have to shift, then everyone is capable of playing in that role. You don’t concentrate as much on a certain individual and you try and get on the ball as much as you can and keep things flowing try and avoid their sweeper.
“We have played against them two or three times and we are adopting to that very, very well.”
If Austin Gleeson sallies up into Maher’s area to take the centre-forward position, the defender won’t mind. If it’s Patrick Curran or Shane Bennett, Maher’s approach will remain the same. He has to be prepared for anything and anyone coming his way.
“I wouldn’t be just concentrating on him,” he says of Gleeson. “Their forwards are very strong, well capable of putting the ball over the bar. You can’t just go out and mark one player. They are all excellent hurlers and they have huge passion coming from the line in Dan (Shanahan) and the likes.”
From a player whose SHC debut ended after the first half in the 2014 All-Ireland qualifier against Galway, Maher’s growth into a fully-fledged member of the Tipperary back-line has been impressive.
“That day didn’t go too well for me,” he says of the game two years ago, “but I wouldn’t let it get it on top of me. If you do let it get on top of you, there is a lot of pressure. I go out and play game by game and try and get a good performance and do everything that needs be to try and help the team and that’s what I have been trying to do and hope it continues.
“It’s my third year now so I am comfortable enough with the set-up. I am gaining a lot of experience from the lads. They are still young enough but gained a lot of experience from the 2008 and 2009 seasons. It’s a brilliant set-up to be involved in. They are a very passionate team and thankfully I settled in.”
Maher suffered slight concussion in the semi-final win over Limerick but is right as rain for the trip to the Gaelic Grounds. “I just got a bang a few minutes before the end of it and just had to come off with a small bit of concussion. Thankfully, I am okay now. I am back flying.
“Please God I will stay playing away without any more injuries.
Maher is likely to be flanked on his right wing by Seamus Kennedy again on Sunday.
“But for concussion, it may well have been Barry Heffernan, who has recently returned to the panel.
“He is a huge player for us. He is in the U21s as well so we are delighted to have him back. He had a huge league campaign. He had two or three concussions that knocked him out for a month or two and he will be buzzing to get back into the set-up and try and make his place in the team again.”
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