Hurler of the year nominee Pádraic Maher has hailed his “lunatic” Thurles Sarsfields team-mates for helping him to continue his winning ways.
Maher, younger brother Ronan, Michael Cahill and Aidan McCormack were the club’s Tipperary representatives on All-Ireland match-day but were back training with the county senior champions by the following Friday.
Six weeks on from beating Kilkenny and they face Kiladangan on Sunday, hoping to become the first Sarsfields team to win three consecutive senior county titles since 1965.
“Anytime we got a weekend off from Mick (Ryan) and the lads inside, we would have been back with the club,” said Maher.
“You might say we have a bit of talent in the group but those lads trained like lunatics on that field. They train mad. It’s unbelievable stuff.
“It’s great for us coming back in from the county stuff because it’s the same thing inside in Sars at the moment. It makes that transition from the county to the club that bit easier because the standards are so high in there. No matter who you are, you are expected to do this because it’s for the team.
“I think that’s shown in how we’ve won the last couple of county finals but we have to keep it going.”
Unlike previous seasons, Maher and the county contingent returned to the club set-up with a skip in their step. It wasn’t long, though, before that was put right.
“The boys bring you down to earth very quickly because you’ve another job to do. It’s great to be playing week after week so you’re kept on your toes and you’ve no real time to reflect or think about things. You just think about the next weekend. It’s a great excuse to have.
“Coming back in, they wouldn’t be giving too many pats on the back in the club (for winning the All-Ireland). They would be happy for you but it’s all about the club for them. It’s great to have a bit of momentum the last few weeks and hopefully bring it into the final on Sunday.
“The last few years we have been coming back in depressed (after exiting the All-Ireland series) and it’s tough to get going again but it’s great to be back in now. The last two years, we’ve been lucky enough to come back and somehow win the county finals, which took a bit of the pain away. It’s absolutely unbelievable to win a county final, it’s what we were brought up to do and what we’ve been trying to do for the club for years.”
Maher is currently training to become a Garda in Templemore, just a 15-minute drive from Thurles.
“I’m so lucky it’s close to home, 9 to 5, and I can do my training in the evening. You see some lads coming from Donegal and places so I’m very lucky. Hopefully, I can get through the next three or four months and get out and about.”
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