After 13 years without missing a single senior hurling championship game for Tipperary, Padraic Maher is trying to get used to life in the stands.

That isn't helped by his former team-mates' struggles this season – after losing to Waterford and Clare they will have to beat Munster and All-Ireland champions Limerick next week to have any hope of reaching an All-Ireland quarter-final.

"It's very strange alright," he tells RTÉ Sport. "Especially when championship got going, it kind of really hit home

"It's disappointing alright. You'd love to be able to help them in some way. It’s tough for them at the moment. It’s hard when you’re not winning and then when the performance is poor everyone is on your back.

"Obviously, I soldiered with a lot of them for years and my brother [Ronan] is involved with the team. I’ve been in that position before, coming off the back of a poor performance and a bad defeat. You know the supporters won’t be happy and what’s written about you… It’s tough going. It’s a difficult part of being an inter-county player but they’ll just have to get on with now.

"They’ll have to try and turn it around in two weeks to give themselves any bit of an opportunity to make it through this round-robin.

"People are saying it's more or less out of their sights now but Tipp still have four points to play for and you never know what way other results could go. The most important game is the next one which is the Limerick one.

"While it's a very uphill task, build that siege mentality, iron out the few things that have to change in training as regards the game-plan or structurally on the pitch, and obviously a few lads will have to look at themselves and up their performance as well.

"What better way to prove people wrong than to go down to the Gaelic Grounds and give a good performance and account of yourself against Limerick and see where it takes you?"

Pádraic Maher was reminding people to sign up to Darkness into Light, the annual fundraising event organised by Pieta, which takes place at sun rise on Saturday 7 May

A transition year for Tipperary was predicted by many given the retirements of Paudie and namesake Brendan Maher, as well as the injury-enforced absence of stalwarts like Seamus Callanan and John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer.

But Colm Bonnar's side raised expectations with their competitive defeat to Waterford, only for their defence to be shredded in the first half by a rampant Clare attack at Semple Stadium last weekend.

"They probably put a lot of energy into the Waterford game," suggests six-time All-Star defender Maher. "No-one was giving them a hope going down there and then they put so much energy into it.

"Then we were hoping for [another] big performance and a win this week. Tipp didn't play well and a lot of players won’t be happy with their performance but Clare set out very well. They looked well organised and weren’t going to be broken down too easily. They had John Conlon sitting in the middle of defence holding the house together.

"On the opposite side, Tipp were pulled and dragged all over the pitch. Left a bit open for long stages of the game. That was very disappointing from a Tipp point of view.

"You have to give Clare a bit of credit too. They were probably coming like Tipp the weekend before. There was no-one talking about Clare at all for the championship and they were probably biting their tongue. So they’ll be glad to get the win. They would have earmarked Tipp as their big game to get them off to a good start. The Cork game at the weekend becomes a massive game for them now as well."

The three-time All-Ireland winner accepts that some players were well below their best against the Banner but he also believes that the Tipperary public need to give Bonnar time to fully implement a move towards a more possession-based style.

"Whatever about game-plans and things like that, players can still go out and give their all and try their best and work as hard as they can," he says. "I'd say a few of the lads leaving on Sunday wouldn't have been happy with their performance in that regard.

"Definitely there's a few things they have to tweak as regards the game-plan. But, again, I think players will have to up their performance for the next day.

"But I said at the start that the Tipp public have to be patient because they're trying something different and you don't just click your fingers. Limerick and Waterford didn't just click their fingers and decide they were going to play this way and it worked straight away. They've been doing it for a number of years now.

"People need to understand that the game has changed some amount. [The] Tipperary way might not be as successful as it was over the years. I think you can marry the two. Build a team structure at the back maybe and work the ball through the lines. At a certain point on the pitch, you can show the Tipperary way then, fast ball into the forward line. Running off the shoulder. Energy.

"Tipp are starting to change a bit now and it's not going to come together as quickly as people might think. They are only at it three or four months. It is not going to all work out straight away. There will be a few up and downs and obviously the last few weeks have been down.

"I get that you'd expect the performance levels to be better and I suppose the honesty and endeavour needs to be better as well but as regards the game-plan it's going to break down as well because players are getting used to it. The lads can fix a few things. Basic things like [being] defensively right and not leaving the back open, having support there.

"This is the white-hot heat of Munster Championship hurling and it's going to be difficult to execute it properly in these games. But hopefully over the next couple of weeks and months, and it could be next year before Tipp start to show the true fruits of it."

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One badly needed bright spot for the Premier was last night's provincial semi-final win for their U20s, who will face Limerick in the final at the Gaelic Grounds on Wednesday.

"It was very refreshing," says Maher. "Especially after the performance on Sunday, it gave everyone a lift.

"It was very enjoyable to watch the way they played the game. They were very modern in regards how they set up and worked the ball through the lines but they were still able to deliver the ball into the forward line quickly.

"It was very refreshing and very important too because the Tipp public have been down for the last few days. Seeing the underage teams progress is very, very important to show that there is a lot of quality players coming through as well as what we have in the seniors."

Watch Galway v Kilkenny in the Leinster Hurling Championship on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player on Sunday from 1.15pm with live blog on all games RTE.ie/Sport and RTÉ News app. Cork v Clare in the Munster Hurling Championship is available to stream worldwide on GAAGO.ie