PÁDRAIC MAHER believes Tipperary hurlers can bounce back next year, despite their All-Ireland final heartbreak a fortnight ago.
Tipp lost hold of the Liam MacCarthy Cup following a four point defeat to Kilkenny at Croke Park earlier this month.
Speaking at the launch of X Box 360 game ‘Gears of War 3’, the 22-year old defender says Tipperary want to make up for their All-Ireland final heartbreak.
“We didn’t do ourselves justice on the day,” he said.
“We didn’t just turn up at all. It does hurt but hopefully we can bring that hurt into next year and drive it on and it might bring us over the line.
“We are not doubting our ability at all and definitely we can go the whole way again next year.”
But Maher realises that it is not going to be easy to get back to the top of the hurling world.
“It is going to be tough. Every team is raising the bar these days,” he said.
“It is up to us to raise it again. Kilkenny have done it again. They are raising that bar for the last 10 years and they are doing it again.
“Dublin are joining into the fray now as well, so it is going to be very hard but we are relishing the challenge.
“That Kilkenny team is definitely the best team I have seen and they have fantastic players all over the field and to come on as well.
“I think Tipperary are a young team also with a fantastic panel and we are hoping that we can challenge them again next year and push it over the line.”
No decisions have been made by Tipperary’s ‘older guns’ but Maher is hopeful that all involved will be back again next year.
“A lot of lads are hurting so I don’t think any decisions will be made at the moment,” Maher said.
“I don’t think there will be many retirements anyway, because lads are hungry for success.
“No one is really happy with what happened on the first Sunday in September. We want to make that wrong right next year. We have a fantastic group of players and there is nothingbetter than trying to drive iton next year to try and redeem ourselves.”
Off the field Maher is going back to University to study Exercise and Health fitness at UL next month, but it continues to be busy for the 22-year old on the pitch.
His focus has now switched to the club front where he is hoping to win Tipperary senior honours with his club Thurles Sarsfields.
“We got back to the club straight away after the All-Ireland final,” he said.
“We are in action in the quarter-final against Noel McGrath’s Loughmore-Castleiney this weekend. There is a good rivalry between the clubs and we are looking forward to it.
“There is a big test there but hopefully we will have a bit of success and it will brighten up the year a bit.”