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Tipperary hurling great Padraic Maher retires on medical grounds

A neck injury has forced the three-time All-Ireland winner and six-time All-Star to call time.

Padraic Maher celebrating Tipperary's most recent All-Ireland win in 2019.
Padraic Maher celebrating Tipperary's most recent All-Ireland win in 2019.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

TIPPERARY GREAT PADRAIC Maher has announced his retirement from hurling on medical grounds at the age of 32.

The three-time All-Ireland winner and six-time All-Star released a heartfelt statement through Tipperary GAA this morning, which begins:

“It is not the end I would have wished for, but the time has come for me to announce my retirement from hurling.

“Unfortunately, I recently received medical advice regarding a neck injury, and I have been advised to step away from contact sport. It is heartbreaking to have to make this decision, but it’s the most important one for me and my health moving forward.

“Representing Tipperary has been my lifelong dream and I am truly honoured and privileged to have played for Tipperary for 13 seasons. I have made some truly great friends and met some great people. I have made memories that will stick with me for the rest of my days.

“While I truly wished this could have lasted a bit longer, I am glad that I can look back and know that I gave everything I had for the blue and gold jersey.”

Maher, who turns 33 this month, went on to thank all those who have impacted his career, finishing with well wishes to the team for the year ahead as he vows to be their “biggest supporter”.

The Thurles Sarsfields man bows out after 13 glittering seasons with the Premier county, despite sharing his intentions to go again in 2022 last month.

Having enjoyed incredible success at underage level — All-Ireland minor titles in 2006 and 2007, an U21 crown as captain in 2010, and Munster minor and U21 honours in ’07, ’08 and ’10 — Maher burst on the senior inter-county scene after making his debut against Dublin as a substitute in the 2009 National League.

That year brought the first of five Munster senior hurling medals (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016), while the teak-tough defender went on to play a central role in three Liam MacCarthy lifts in 2010, 2016 and 2019.

Maher won six All-Stars in a host of defensive positions – 2009 (full-back), 2011 (wing-back), 2014 (centre-back), 2016 (wing-back), 2017 (wing-back) and 2019 (wing-back) — while he captained Tipperary in 2017 and 2018.

Nominated for Hurler of the Year in 2011 and 2016, Maher also enjoyed plenty of club glory with Thurles Sarsfields, including seven county senior hurling titles, and a host of other honours in both hurling and football, as outlined in the statement.

Within, he had a special word for his club: “What can I say about my beloved club Thurles Sarsfields. What you have all done for my career is unbelievable. The support I received, the great years on the field and the memories we have, I will cherish for the rest of my days. While I might not get to put on that famous blue jersey anymore, I will never be too far away from ‘The Outside Field’.” 

padraic-maher Maher in action in 2009. Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

“The news that Padraic Maher is retiring on health issues will be greeted with great disappointment by all followers of the Blue and Gold,” chairman Joe Kennedy added.

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“Padraic has been one of Tipperary’s most consistent performers over many years and has been a true leader of Tipperary senior hurlers with many inspiring performances. He was always a man for the big day and often gave his best performance for both club and county in championship finals.

“On the field he displayed tremendous courage and tenacity and was never found wanting in the heat of battle. He will be remembered as one of the greatest Tipperary hurlers and on behalf of all Tipperary followers I wish him well in his retirement. Thank you Padraic.”

Tipperary PRO Jonathan Cullen echoed those thanks, noting: “You were a true leader a warrior and an inspiration to so many over the course of your career.”

Following the retirement of namesake Brendan Maher last August, Seamus Callanan, Noel McGrath and Patrick Maher are now Tipp’s only survivors from the Class of 2010.

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Emma Duffy

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