Tipperary defender Ronan Maher admits 2016 feels like a long time ago and that the Premier County deserved their All-Ireland win on Sunday.
Speaking to Pundit Arena this morning, Maher claimed the group were buzzing to wake up as All-Ireland Champions.
“I suppose waking up this morning it was a really nice feeling, I was just thinking there to myself when I woke up in 2016 it feels like a long time ago. I think this one is thoroughly deserved for this group of players and they are absolutely buzzing there this morning.”
Under the watchful eye of the returning Liam Sheedy, Tipperary bounced back from an early Championship exit in 2018 to be crowned the 2019 champions with Maher admitting that this win was extra special given their poor performance in last season’s Championship.
“It is yeah (extra special). I suppose there was a lot of questions asked about us and as you said we were out of the Championship very early last year so we’re absolutely thrilled.
“We battled hard all year, we trained very hard and have a tremendous group of players and it was thoroughly deserved at the end of the day and I think we tried all year to get back to where we were in 2016 so thankfully we won it and we’re here to celebrate now so it’s great.”
After a shaky opening 20 minutes, Niall O’Meara’s fine individual goal seemed to settle Tipperary before they ran rampant in the second half. Maher admitted that the first goal was the catalyst for what was to come.
“Yeah, it was a great boost, he was super all day. I suppose there was a great build-up to that as well, everybody worked hard for each other and thankfully we came out on top but I suppose that goal really pushed us on for the rest of the day.”
One man who is on everybody’s lips following his final exploits was Séamus Callanan who bagged his eighth goal in eight Championship games. Maher described their captain as a tremendous leader who deserved this win more than anybody.
“Unbelievable like, you couldn’t ask for a better leader, he’s the one that leads from the front and he’s got a goal in every game this year so that says it all about the man. Absolutely, he deserves it more than anyone and a tremendous leader.”
For now, it’s back to the Premier County for Maher, Sheedy and the rest of the Tipperary team to join their family and friends on the celebration train.
“Super feeling yeah, it’ll be great to see all the Tipp supporters and it’ll be special going back to Thurles. It’s really nice and you can’t have Liam MacCarthy going back there enough so looking forward to that.”