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Maher tells ref ‘let it off’

posted 1 Sep 2011, 12:15 by Unknown user

Thursday, September 01, 2011

TIPPERARY hurler Padraic Maher believes referees should "let it off" when it comes to the All-Ireland final, believing both his side and Kilkenny benefit from being allowed to express themselves.

"I think the game is changing anyway. Teams are training to be more physical and I think referees are buying into it as well. For me it is the best way to have it because all the players are getting to express themselves with their hurling and physically as well. Both teams like that and the two finals over the last two years the referees have suited that. So let it off.

"That’s the best way to have it but we don’t mind what way it goes once we win. I suppose for the supporters it’s probably a nice spectacle."

Maher has contributed a few points this year to go with his defensive duties: "It is just a matter of going with your instinct. Lucky for me I was on the end of a few balls I had a chance of scoring with.

"More often than not Eoin Kelly and Larry Corbett won’t be happy if you are going for your own scores. We want to get the ball into them as much as possible. We have the forwards who are capable of doing damage if they get the right ball. That’s what our job is as a backline. Everybody knows that they can damage teams."

And the damage Maher helps them to do — he started the landslide against Waterford with his long deliveries.

"That’s the ball they like, in as fast as you can get it in. They are a top class forward line and they can do damage. We even have the forwards coming off the bench to help them.

"We’re going to have to work very hard to get it in against Kilkenny. The work ethic Kilkenny bring to the game, we’re going to have to match that or better it."

They needed to match Dublin’s work ethic, too, in the semi-final.

"Their tactics worked they were stopping that supply of ball going in quickly," says Ryan.

"It’s going to be similar enough to what Kilkenny are going to do.

"Kilkenny are going to bring such intensity to the game but that’s the game we love as well.

"People are saying they are not the same team they were. Kilkenny have been in the league final, the Leinster final and now the All-Ireland final. They are still a top class team. I think they are going to be hungry anyway."

Are Tipperary better, though? "I think we are more experienced and even the younger lads, this is going to be our third time playing in Croke Park in an All-Ireland final. I think we are better but there is plenty of room for improvement."

The Thurles Sars man hopes Tipp can reach the levels of intensity reached last year.

"Every team is bringing that level of intensity higher and higher. Dublin proved that against us. Kilkenny have proved it again. We’re going to have to up what we did last year because Kilkenny are going to be a hungrier team this year."

Maher doesn’t feel Tipp have anything to prove because Henry Shefflin went off before half-time last year.

"We all know he’s a top player. But they have 20 or 25 players who are all top class. Henry is back to full fitness and is performing well but there are five other forwards there who can do damage. I don’t think we have to prove anything just because he came off early last year.

"He was there the year before and we nearly won it. No matter who is wearing the Kilkenny jersey it is a matter of going out and beating them."