Tributes are being paid from GAA communities across the country following the shock retirement of Pádraic Maher from hurling.
A player that would be a stand out hurler in any generation is one of the phrases uttered today to praise the legendary Paudie and the role he has played for Tipperary over the last 20 years.
Inspirational and starring on the hurling field from his days with Durlas Óg, Scoil Ailbe, Thurles Sarsfields, Thurles CBS and Tipperary the tributes have been rolling in since the news of the retirement due to medical advice to stay away from contact sport due to a neck injury was made public in a statement this morning by the Tipp County Board.
The Garda won three Senior All Irelands in 2010, 2016 and 2019 with the standout game for him the 2016 All Ireland final in which Tipp beat Kilkenny under Mick Ryan which Paudie described as the game of his life.
Back in 2010 he captained Tipp to Under 21 glory playing ten games at that level and going on to hurl 60 Championship matches for his county.
Today Colm Bonnar revealed the details of his retirement.
“He would have put a message into our WhatsApp – he was a member of our WhatsApp team and he put a message in this morning to the players – it was always a dream to play for Tipperary and players knew that and he cherished every moment of it and he loved every moment of it. That’s the impression he gave and that’s what’s going to be missing in that dressing room – that experience because we had all been hoping he’d get back in but its not to be.”
Speaking on Tipp Today earlier, fellow clubman Ger ‘Redser’ O’Grady summed up Paudie’s legacy with club and county.
“I’m just in shock – there was a lump in my throat this morning.
“I played with the man – we won a county final in 2005, he was only a young little boy inside in the Sarsfields Centre with a headband on him and he was looking up to all of us and little did we know in a couple of years after we were looking up to him.
“I can say I was 10 years older than him and we actually looked up to him in the dressing room because he spoke in the dressing room – and a lot of lads down through the years would speak in the dressing room and forget to go out and hurl – he did both.
“He’s our greatest ever hurler here in Thurles Sarsfields and we’re in a total shock here in Thurles.”