Tipperary captain Pádraic Maher cut a dejected figure as he faced the press following yesterday’s defeat to Cork. In his own words, he was “gutted.”
The Thurles Sars defender was understandably extremely disappointed with his team’s loss, having been heavy favourites going into the game. The Premier were set to launch the defence of their Munster and All Ireland titles in Semple Stadium yesterday, but Kieran Kingston’s troops had other ideas.
Maher has no qualms with the result, and was quick to give credit to Cork for their showing.
“It’s very disappointing. Fair dues to Cork, they totally deserved their win.
“They dictated the game from the very start, they made us chase them all over the field but I thought when we got a point up that we were going to stay on top, but again, fair play to Cork. They got the goal and it was a killer.
“They have a lot of pace but it’s nothing we haven’t dealt with before.
“Just today, they had a plan and they worked it off to a tee and I just felt that we were just chasing them. They just dictated the game which is very disappointing on our part.”
So, what of Tipp’s apparent flatness? This is now two games in a row that they have failed to deliver on their billing as the number one team in the country. Fresh off the back of a drubbing in the league final at the hands of Galway, Michael Ryan’s side were expected to produce a backlash in Thurles yesterday.
However, it didn’t work out that way. Where has this flatness come from in the All Ireland champions camp?
“I don’t know if we were flat, we still fought our way back into it even though we weren’t going that well.
“You can’t question lads desire, we stayed fighting. We kept fighting until the very end, just Cork were that bit sharper.”
Maher was keen to reiterate that his teammates were not found wanting for effort yesterday afternoon. Of course, critics will point to the fact that the county has not retained a Liam McCarthy Cup since 1965 and say that this team have neither the mentality or drive within themselves to break that duck. Their desire to lay down a commanding statement off the back of last year’s success will be questioned.
The towering half-back disagrees with that notion, believing yesterday was just a bad day at the office while paying full compliments to Cork’s display, but this Tipp team will come again, not lacking in the motivation department.
“Things didn’t work out for us on the day. Our performance wasn’t great on the day but we’re not questioning anyone’s desire.
“We wanted to win that as much as Cork did but they were just that bit sharper on the day and that bit of hunger came out on top.
“Kieran Kingston said in the dressing room to us that they’ve been waiting for us for twelve months. Fair dues to them, they got the result and fully deserved it.”
The Premier will be the ones to avoid in the qualifier draw with a backlash surely to be expected having been dumped out of Munster on the opening day of the hurling championship. But then again, we said the same thing following their league final capitulation. Who knows now what Tipperary team will turn up on any given Sunday? One thing for certain is that if this group has genuine intentions of winning back to back All Irelands, they need to improve on their last couple of outings, drastically.