With an inter-county hurling career boasting five Munster titles, two All-Ireland wins and five All-Star awards, Padraic Maher is unusually despondent when recalling his record with Tipperary thus far.
At 29-years-old, the Thurles Sarsfields man is entering his second championship as captain of Tipperary this afternoon against Limerick. Yet, if he was "retiring in the morning," Maher would "have a lot of regrets."
Having joined the Tipperary panel fully-formed for inter-county hurling in 2009, Maher's story is inevitably intertwined with that of a rampaging Kilkenny. Fortunate to have missed Kilkenny at the absolute peak of their powers, it is nevertheless telling that in the same time he has won two All-Ireland finals, certain Kilkenny players have won twice that amount.
Thrown in at the deep-end against Kilkenny in the '09 League final, Maher, speaking in today's Sunday Independent, recalled the difficult task he was presented with. Up against Henry Shefflin, the 20-year-old was confident in his ability:
I was 20 years of age then and I was delighted to get an opportunity.
I think Henry Shefflin had a point or two points scored in the first couple of minutes. And I thought, 'Oh no', but then I didn't think about it and just went for it.
Recalling the All-Ireland final later that year, Shefflin was once again placed on Maher. Yet, the proficiency of this young defender gave Brian Cody cause for a change of heart.
As far as the Tipperary man remembers it now, he ended up spending "most of that game on Richie Power."
For all his immense individual performances however, it is Kilkenny that Maher want Tipperary to emulate. Having kept the likes of Henry Shefflin quiet in one-to-one duels, both finals in question ended up with Tipperary on the losing side.
As recently as the League final just gone, Kilkenny had once again put a halt to what would have been an impressive win for Maher's side:
They certainly have a very good team and they all work very hard for each other. You could see that, especially in the second half against us. So you have to admire that about them and maybe it is something that other teams, like us, need to be better at, to work harder for each other.
Kicking off their All-Ireland campaign with the first round of the Munster championship against Limerick this afternoon, Maher will be hoping to right some of the wrongs that have plagued his own career thus far.