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Padraic Maher: Gleeson's performance silenced the critics
The Tipperary wing-back was thrilled for his team-mate on Sunday.

Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

PADRAIC MAHER PAID tribute to Darren Gleeson’s excellent goalkeeping display for Tipperary as they booked their place in the All-Ireland final on Sunday.

Gleeson has been a member of the Tipperary panel since 2008, patiently biding his time as back-up to five-time All-Star Brendan Cummins. When Cummins finally hung up his boots last winter, the 33-year-old was his natural successor.

Since then Gleeson has made the jersey his own and he shone between the posts as Tipp qualified for their first All-Ireland final since 2011. Gleeson made three outstanding saves in the second half, while his flawless puck-outs laid the foundations for the win.

“I was delighted for him. I said it to him that he pulled off a nice few saves, some might tune out when they are so far ahead but he kept tuned in and pulled off a few vital saves,” Maher said afterwards.

“He has been waiting in the wings over the last few years with Brendan Cummins in front of him but he has got his chance this year and he has taken it.

“Some people have been critical of him over the last few weeks for conceding the goals but he didn’t have a hope with any of them so it was great to see him produce that sort of performance today.”

Padraic Maher celebrates with Noel McGrath James Crombie / INPHO Padraic Maher celebrates with Noel McGrath following the final whistle. James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Maher, who has named man-of-the-match after a storming game on Tipp’s half-back line, had the feeling that they were on the verge of producing something special in the run up to the game.

“You could sense it in training, we knew we were capable of a big performance. We had to keep the pressure on Cork because they can get a run on you with the quality of their forwards they have as they will punish you.

“It was a good thing from us today that we kept our foot on the pedal.”

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Tipp defended heroically throughout, with Rob O’Shea’s consolation goal arriving when the game was long in the bag.

“It was disappointing to give away the goal near the end but if that’s all we are giving out about it’s not too bad.

“That’s why we were disappointed to give away the goal because we were playing really well as a unit. Everyone was covering for one another and the midfield were magnificent as well covering back.”

The focus now switches to a September showdown with Kilkenny. Are Tipp mirroring their 2010 run to the All-Ireland title?

“You could say we are going along the same route but it definitely tougher this time round to what compared to what we went through before.

“It’s all well and good but we have to go on and win it now. We know the team we are playing against and they know us as well so we are going to have to bring a performance and that comes from the next three weeks in training.”

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