GAA

'Christmas Is A Time To Celebrate With Family And Friends, We Didn't Get To Do That'

'Christmas Is A Time To Celebrate With Family And Friends, We Didn't Get To Do That'

Brendan Maher has called for the GAA to ensure that the club championships are played within the calendar year.

Maher's Borris-Ileigh side defeat Galway's St Thomas in Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final, setting up an encounter with reigning champions Ballyhale Shamrocks at Croke Park in a fortnight's time.

This year's club campaign saw a move to condense the season. The semi-finals were played over the weekend instead of the February fixtures of previous years. The senior finals will be played on January 19th rather than the traditional St Patrick's Day date.

Next year will see the season further compacted with the senior semi-finals played in mid-December. Though, the finals will not be played until early January.

"It is difficult," Maher told TG4 after Sunday's victory.

We're privileged to be in this position. I won't say it ruined out Christmas but it does put a fierce dampener on it. Christmas is a time to celebrate with family and friends and we didn't get to do that.

We trained and we were happy to train. We sacrificed an awful lot to be here today. I hope now that the GAA make the changes, bring it forward and if it's going to be in a calendar year, it should be in a calendar year, played before Christmas and let the teams involved enjoy themselves.

Maher and inter-county teammate Dan McCormack switched roles throughout the game. It allowed Maher to move forward from centre-back and score two from play in addition to his eight from placed balls.

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"It suits Dan to play the sweeping role," said Maher.

"He's very good at reading the game and it allows me to push on. A lot of centre-forwards play deep, so it allows me to push up on my man and attack a little bit as well. It works well, we interchange a little bit as well. It's about a lot of communication on the field.

"It's an awful lot different and it does offer you a sense of freedom. You know that you're able to go out and express yourself that little bit more. I'm lucky that Dan does the job he does: he does an awful lot of unseen work tracking runs and if I lose my man, he's picking him up and vice-versa."

The Tipperary champions went into the final as underdogs but made a mockery of that tag, winning by seven points.

"It's one thing we spoke about: we were being talked about as the unexpected team here," Maher said.

"We wanted to show that we could play as well, we have an awful lot of skilled hurlers. We racked up 1-21, which is a good score at this time of the year.

"It means everything (getting to the final). This is dream stuff. The dark cloud that Paddy [Stapleton] mentioned during the week that was over the parish for the 18 months, we're slowly lifting it."

See Also: Two Scores Which Showcase Why Corofin Are The Country's Classiest Team

PJ Browne
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