"There was a lot of pressure on lads in the club" - Ronan Maher on Thurles Sarsfields' drive for three in-a-row

The All-Ireland winner also discussed his "migraine" after the final against Kilkenny

Ronan Maher

Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy 

Ronan Maher admits there is an expectation on Thurles Sarsfields as they chase a third consecutive Tipperary SHC title and says a victory over Kildangan this weekend would put the gloss on an already sparkling year for the 20-year-old.

Having already picked up an All-Ireland winners medal, Maher is looking to make more history, but reckons that there is an newfound expectation on his side considering that this is there sixth county final in eight years.

"There was a lot of pressure on lads in the club," he said at the launch of the AIB Club Championships. "They’re expected to achieve every year. That’s the way the club is. I think [reaching six finals in eight years] is a great achievement in itself. But there is a huge expectation on the club between people around the town."

Maher played a pivotal role in the Tipperary defence to help them secure a first All-Ireland title since 2010 and overcome Brian Cody's all-conquering Kilkenny in the final.

The centre-back picked up a knock during the game, but insisted that it was something he simply slept off after the game.

"I just went back to my room in the hotel, I had a migraine. I went to sleep for half an hour but I was fine after it. I think it all hit me at once.

"After the match I was fine but just then when I went into the dressing room and I wasn’t getting better so I just said I would go back to the hotel room before the reception. I went back to sleep for half an hour but thankfully I was OK then."

The achievement is remarkable for someone who has been involved in the senior set-up since 2014 and Maher says he hasn't fully realized the scale of the achievement.

"I didn’t really reflect on it that much yet since we’re straight back into the club. Between college and Tipperary, it has been an exceptional year and it’d be very nice to round it off winning with the club.

"It’s going to take until Christmas and when you’re relaxing at home on the couch to realise what a great year it’s after being. Before we know it we’ll be facing back into the county scene with Mick Ryan. We’ll have to take some time out to realise what we’re after doing. It’s been a very good year, we’re absolutely thrilled."

Of becoming an All-Ireland winner and etching his name into history he said: "I suppose you’re just very proud, your family are very proud. It’s a great feeling knowing all the work you put in all year has paid off. There’s nothing worse than being turned around in September after losing an All-Ireland final and facing back into a Championship. It’s very hard.

"I suppose you have to come back to reality now and pinch yourself every so often. Like in Thurles as with Tipperary, there’s an awful huge expectation for the county. They expect us to achieve every year."