Tipperary captain Brendan Maher revealed that he had his All-Ireland acceptance speech prepared long before he walked up the steps of the Hogan Stand - but he still managed to forget to thank his manager.
Maher had the honour of lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup at Croke Park on Sunday after Tipp beat Kilkenny 2-29 to 2-20.
Almost three weeks beforehand he had written a speech - just in case - and had given it to a friend who handed it over as he made his way to the stand.
“It’s unbelievable, the stuff you dream of,” said the 27-year-old teacher.
“In the moment you don’t know what to think, you’re a bit all over the place, and I forgot to mention Mick Ryan and the management in the speech and I had him first on the list.
“I saw the names and said I’d come back to it, but I just forgot. You don’t know what you’re at! I’ve been getting a bit of stick off the lads since.
“I scribbled a few notes out the day after the Galway game. Got it out of the head.
Brendan Maher lifts Liam https://t.co/xSiFnJFTYK— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) September 4, 2016
“I was sitting down in my home house, doing a bit of work, and it came into my head. I saw there was a copy and a biro on the table so I just said, ‘right, I’ll jot down a few thank yous’ and it was out of my head then.
“I probably learned that from the last time in 2014 and I had spoken to Eoin (Kelly) about it as well and he said he didn’t do it in 2011 and it corrupted his thoughts in the lead-up to it.
“That’s natural no matter how focused you are coming in to it, that’s still going to come into your head. I didn’t have to think about it because I had it written down, but I’d be like that - I like to write things down.
“It was handed to me by someone at the final whistle, I won’t tell you who, and it was nice for me to have that piece of mind that I wouldn’t have to think about what I was going to say. Even though I still forgot!”
Maher now has two All-Irelands, the first claimed in 2010, and he is determined to add more - starting next year.
Tipp haven’t won back-to-back All-Irelands since 1964-65 and he knows that they failed to build on the success of 2010, since when Kilkenny have won Liam MacCarthy on four occasions.
“Perception is reality and there was a perception out there that we were nearly starting to believe,” said the Borris-Ileigh man.
“We had to be different this year, we had to say ‘look, this is the way we are’ and we had to believe in it more.
We had such a strong group in there and very a private group - we kept to ourselves, knuckled down and just focused on what was important.
“There’s a new challenge ahead; unfortunately the 2016 championship is history and that’s the way it is. We have 2017 to look forward to, we’ll enjoy this first but this is a very ambitious group.
“In 2010 we won and there was a lot expected of us. We didn’t get the success in the following years and we want to change it this time.”
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