'The Godfather of Modern Hurling' passes away

March 26, 2015

Former Kilkenny manager Fr Tommy Maher. Pic courtesy Kilkenny GAA

The death has occurred of former Kilkenny hurling manager, Fr Tommy Maher aged 92.

Regarded as one of the most influential coaches in hurling, Fr Maher guided the Cats to seven All-Ireland successes iduring his 21 years (1957-78) as coach.

The last arrived in 1975 when current manager Brian Cody claimed his first medal as a player.

He reluctantly agreed to take on the team in 1957 and the Cats caught the great Wexford team on the hop in that year's Leinster final.

Every Kilkenny All-Ireland success in the last 30 years has been achieved by a manager who played under Maher's guidance in the 1950s, 60s or 70s.

His playing career was limited by the restrictions on clerics but remarkably his only senior appearance in the black and amber jersey was in the All-Ireland final of 1945 which they lost to Tipperary.

In 2012, he was the subject of a biography - The Godfather of Modern Hurling: The Fr Tommy Maher Story' - by journalist Enda McEvoy.

The books tells the story of how the Kilkenny priest drew a new blueprint for the national game.

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