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Dublin: 11°C Sunday 16 May 2021

'The worst defeats are when you don't perform because they are full of regret'

Brendan Maher still agonises over last year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Galway.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

TIPPERARY CAPTAIN BRENDAN Maher admits Sunday’s last-gasp defeat to Waterford was a bitter pill to swallow but he and his team-mates are working hard to get their campaign back on track.

Austin Gleeson’s stunning injury-time point snatched victory for the Déise in a thrilling Allianz League clash at Semple Stadium.

The home side surrendered a five point second-half lead to slip to their second defeat of the campaign and Maher conceded the manner of the loss was disappointing.

“Giving away a free in the opposing half you don’t expect to see it going over the bar,” he said. “It was unfortunate the way it turned out, but it was a fantastic score from Austin from 100 yards out.

“It was disappointing that we didn’t get the chance to get back level again – it was literally ball picked out and game over. It was disappointing, but we’ve another game to look at on Sunday and another game after that so we’re just trying to make sure that we get a quarter-final spot.

“A good result on Sunday will put us in a good position so we’re just working hard.”

After a 1-23 to 0-12 victory over Dublin on the opening weekend, the Premier County have slipped to successive reversals now and find themselves fourth in Division 1A.

Austin Gleeson scores a last minute free to win the game Austin Gleeson nailed a sensational free on Sunday. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

There’s a fine line between pushing for a quarter-final berth and becoming embroiled in a relegation dogfight at this stage of the season and Maher says the players enjoy the format.

“Waterford are the only team that are safe, probably, because they’re on six points. Anyone on four points can still go either way,” the 27-year-old continued.

“That’s the beauty of the league over the last few years. We’ve had years where we’ve gone in to the last round not knowing are you going to be in a relegation final or a quarter-final. It’s great to watch and it’s great to play in.

“As players that’s what we enjoy. We had a disappointing lost on Sunday, but we get the chance to go out and hurl again next week. If it was the Championship you play a game and then it might be five weeks before you get the chance to do it again.

“You enjoy playing those games and the standard is good this year in the league so far. Teams are very fit and the standard has probably come up in recent years because of the system.

“Teams have to be really on their game and it’s really enjoyable as a player to have a game to go out to week-on-week.

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“I don’t enjoy the training and the conditions but that’s what I’m saying about playing week on week. The atmosphere on Sunday was very good and they’re the games you love playing in.

“The conditions obviously you’d like to be a bit better but you can’t have it both ways there I suppose.”

While the immediate focus remains on the league, the championship season is always at the back of the mind and for Tipp that means a shot at redemption.

Brendan Maher leads the team out Maher will hope to lead Tipp to success in 2016.

An agonising one-point defeat to Galway at last year’s semi-final stage still haunts Maher.

“Me personally, I would think back on stuff like that a lot,” the Boris-Ileigh man continued. “I suppose over the years you try and just consciously not think about it I suppose, or consciously just make the decision and say ‘right, I am looking forward, what can I do now.’

“There’s no point in dwelling on things like that, once it’s done it’s done and you can’t change it. You always kind of think ‘right, what can I do today to make a difference’ or ‘what can I do at training tomorrow night.’ That’s the way you look at it.

“A defeat is a defeat no matter what it is; whether it’s one point or ten points. The worst type of defeat is if you didn’t perform yourself and then maybe if you didn’t perform as a  team.

“They are the worst because it’s just full of regret.”

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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