After a period of reflection, the decision was finally made. One of four survivors from the Tipperary side that captured the 2010 All-Ireland, Pádraic Maher made up his mind that he would be part of the county's senior squad for a 14th season.

We won't see the Thurles Sarsfields player in the early rounds of the Allianz League, though. "I'm not physically back in with the group yet," he said at a media event to announce FBD Insurance as the new name sponsor for Semple Stadium.

"I have a few niggles after the club campaign; I want to get them right and be 100% for all the training. I want to be at the top of my health. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks I'll be raring to go."

Elaborating more on those niggles picked up when helping Thurles Sarsfields reach the county final, he added: "I was feeling great all year and was thoroughly enjoying my hurling until I picked up a bad ankle injury in the county quarter-final.

"I wasn't able to train properly for the rest of the club campaign, was just doing enough to be able to play the games. That was frustrating. I had a thumb issue as well. A case now of giving them a bit of time to heal. The break will do me the world of good, get a bit of rehab in.

"It's a clean slate, we’ve new management, we’ve new backroom, we’ve new everything in Tipperary so I have to go back in and prove myself all over again, I’m no different to anyone else."

"I want to be available for a couple of league games anyway so I can show the new management what I still have to offer."

Pádraic Maher pictured at the naming rights sponsorship announcement

At the age of 33, Maher has three All-Irelands to his name. On the back of recent underage success, the defender believes he can play some part in guiding the next collection of Premier stars. That desire was behind his decision to commit to another year in the blue and gold.

"I was going to play out the club campaign first to see how I felt, to see whether I was playing to the level I need to be playing at. I was happy enough. I felt physically great, mentally great and was showing good form on the pitch.

"As I got older and experience different things in life you definitely appreciate it more and relax a bit more, just enjoy the whole process"

"I still feel I have something to offer the group in some capacity. I wouldn't be going back if I didn't think that. I don't want to be getting in the way of any of the younger lads. There is still something in my heart and in the back of my mind that I have something to offer. I'll give it another crack.

"For me it has always been about trying to win as much as possible. That's why you’re so dedicated to it. As the years go on you appreciate being involved that much more and how lucky we are to be able to go out to Dr Morris Park, Semple Stadium and train every evening or go playing games every weekend.

"As I get older I appreciate it more. While you do keep taking it serious when you have to take it serious, you do try enjoy it that bit more because early on and throughout my career I took it so serious it was life or death with hurling.

"As I got older and experience different things in life you definitely appreciate it more and relax a bit more, just enjoy the whole process. That’s why I’m going back for another year now. When it’s gone from you it’s gone and that’s it. The whole chapter is closed. So I’ll enjoy as much of it while I can when I’m physically able I suppose."

Tipperary taking the plaudits after their All-Ireland Under-20 success in 2020

Maher, along with all in the Tipperary hurling family, are no doubt hoping the successful All-Ireland U-21/U-20 sides of the recent past will form the basis of a strong squad going forward.

"It's definitely time for them to step up and make this team their team," was the gauntlet thrown down by Maher.

"It's time for them to really drive it on to the next level. They're all good enough, have had success, are a great bunch of young lads, and are very dedicated. It would be great to see them bring it on to another level. That's one of the reasons why I'm happy enough to hang around, so as to help them as best I can, both on and off the pitch to guide them through training."

One name who won't be aiding the Premier in 2022 is Brendan Maher. The Borris-Ileigh clubman announced his inter-county retirement last August. In paying tribute, Maher hailed an "outstanding" former team-mate in the course of a telephone conversation the pair had when the retirement decision was made.

"I said to him that you left nothing behind, left no stone unturned and you got everything out of your career.

"Without doubt he'll be a big loss for Tipperary. Time waits for none of us. He’s happy with his decision and that’s the main thing. I wish him all the best and it’s up to someone else to step into his shoes."

Colm Bonnar

Colm Bonnar is the new man at the helm now after the departure of Liam Sheedy. And while he's had little contact with Bonnar, Maher is pleased with the positive vibes emerging from the camp.

"He’s a very nice man. I’ve been chatting to a lot of the lads and they seem happy with him. Training has been going good by all accounts, they’re been tested in every facet of the training. Gym work has been tough. All the soundings are good at the moment.

"I’m sure he’ll put his own stamp on things. There’s a few new coaches involved, new S&C, so I presume it’ll be a bit different than what we’re used to. Maybe the change is as good as a rest for the group.

"We’ve had Liam there for a number of years so it’s exciting to see what he brings to the table and see can he get another little burst out of this group. You’ve a group of players there that are vying to get back on the team."