Brendan Maher crowns peerless year on day of extraordinary days 1 year ago

Brendan Maher crowns peerless year on day of extraordinary days

61 minutes.

Borris-Ileigh are up by a point and nobody in Pรกirc Uรญ Rinn really knows how. Guts. Shoulders. Kicks. Late tackles. Heavy touches. Golden touches. Throws. Over-hit passes.

Ballygunner look to have more in them. But we're not seeing it.

What we're seeing is Borris-Ileigh.

Mistakes, lots of them. Fumbled balls, there were a good few.

They're not the most glamorous club team, the north Tipperary men. Workmanlike would sum about 11 of their starting 15 up. County man Dan McCormack is the epitome of what Borris-Ileigh hurling is.

Big, strong and uncompromising. He'll hit wides, he'll have you pulling your hair out at times. But he's effective, and he's tough. He has a spirit.ย A spirit that doesn't bend. Glamour is no good in November, and these Borris boys are made for club hurling.

The other four are workmanlike too. But workmanlike would be an injustice to the glorious, illuminating skills that Brendan Maher, Conor Kenny, Kevin Maher and James Devaney possess.

These lads are the sprinkles on a modest sponge. The gold-dust over a reliable machine. When you have the magic you have a chance.


Brendan Maher is an absolute icon.

61 minutes says the clock when he darts over to the stand-side to pick up a loose ball before firing it down the other end of the field.

It felt like a seismic moment. The crowning of a peerless performance. The Borris crowd went wild, just like any set of supporters would when their talisman steps up with a big play yet again on a day of days.

He's been phenomenal. Seven points, six of them nerveless frees on a wet-grip sort of day. The point from play was outlandish, showed off one of the most exquisite touches you'll see and a strike that was only ever going over the bar.

But even after 61 minutes, even after that heroic stand-side intervention, Brendan Maher had more to give. He wasn't going to stop until Borris-Ileigh were Munster champions. And so with injury time almost up, another schemozzle forms. That's been the story of the day.


Jerry Kelly could win it. He's a rampaging bull-dozer of a player. He jostles, he hits and he slogs it out like a fella who's been waiting his whole life for this. You wouldn't think he's only 21. His stamina is deceptive.

James Devaney is there too. He's been the star of their year, scorer of extraordinary goals galore. He hasn't had it his way this Sunday, but he hasn't stopped either. None of them stop.

Brendan Maher wins it. Somehow plucks it from about ten bodies and wins the free. That's it. He's done it again. Ends with a fist-pump. A year and a half after tearing his cruciate ligament, Brendan Maher has followed up his All-Ireland and All-Star with Tipp, with a county championship and Munster championship with his club.

What a year. What a player. What a team.

"We're no fancy Dans," said Ray McCormack after the game.

You can print that. Borris-Ileigh will take some beating.