|Irish name||Antoin Ó Meachair|
12 January 1945 |
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Occupation||Office of Public Works employee|
Maher made his first appearance for the team during the 1968–69 National League and was a regular member of the starting fifteen until his retirement after the 1975 championship. During that time he won one All-Ireland medal, four Munster medals, three National League medals and two All-Star awards. Maher was an All-Ireland runner-up on two occasions.
He made his senior debut just out of the minor ranks in 1964 and immediately became a regular fixture at corner-forward. After losing the championship decider to Glen Rovers that year, "the Barr's" were back for a second successive final the following year. University College Cork provided the opposition, however, a youthful St. Finbarr's team powered to a 6–8 to 2–6 victory. It was Maher's first championship medal. A subsequent 3–12 to 2–3 trouncing of Waterford's Mount Sion gave him a Munster medal.
After surrendering their titles the following year and losing the final to Glen Rovers in 1967, St. Finbarr's bounced back in 1968. Maher collected a second championship medal following a narrow 5–9 to 1–19 defeat of Imokilly.
After an absence of six years St. Finbarr's returned to the top table of Cork hurling once again in 1974. In spite of being regarded as underdogs against Blackrock, Con Roche gave a masterful display in helping "the Barr's" to a 2–17 to 2–14 victory. It was Maher's third championship medal. Newmarket-on-Fergus were the opponents in the subsequent provincial decider A low-scoring 0–7 to 0–3 victory gave Maher his second Munster medal, however, the game was tinged with sadness for St. Finbarr's as an horrific shin-bone injury brought Bernie Scully's career to an end. The All-Ireland final on St. Patrick's weekend saw St. Finbarr's take on the Fenians of Kilkenny. St. Finbarr's ability to get goals at crucial times proved to be the difference in the 3–8 to 1–6 victory. It was Maher's first All-Ireland medal.
In 1977 a 1–17 to 1–5 trouncing of north side rivals gave Maher his fourth championship medal. A comfortable 2–8 to 0–6 defeat of Sixmilebridge in a replay after a nerve-wracking draw, saw him win his third Munster medal. He later lined out in the All-Ireland final with Rathnure, the Wexford and Leinster champions, providing the opposition. The first half was a disaster for St. Finbarr's as a gale-force wind resulted in the Cork side trailing by 0–8 to 0–1. The second thirty minutes saw "the Barr's" take control with Jimmy Barry-Murphy scoring the deciding goal. A 2–7 to 0–9 victory gave Maher a second All-Ireland medal.
1980 saw Maher add a fifth championship medal to his collection as Glen Rovers were accounted for on a 1–9 to 2–4 score line. He later picked up a fourth Munster medal as Roscrea fell narrowly by 2–12 to 1–14. A record-equaling third All-Ireland medal proved beyond St. Finbarr's who were beaten by Ballyhale Shamrocks in the decider.
County championship final defeats of Glen Rovers in 1981 and Blackrock in 1982 brought Maher's championship medal tally to seven. He retired from club hurling shortly after the latter victory.
In retirement from the game Maher's service to the St. Finbarr's club has been described as exceptional. He became chairman of the club during a very successful period between 1987 and 1996. He later served as secretary of the club.
Minor and under-21
Maher first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a member of the minor hurling team during Cork's unsuccessful championship campaign that year.
By 1966 Maher had joined the Cork under-21 team. He won a Munster medal that year as Cork trounced Limerick by 5–12 to 2–6 in the provincial decider. The subsequent All-Ireland final ended in a draw as Wexford recorded 5–6 to Cork's 3–12. The replay also ended all square – 4–9 apiece. At the third time of asking Cork emerged victorious with a huge tally of 9–9 to 5–9. This victory gave Cork their first All-Ireland title in this grade and gave Maher, who was introduced as a substitute, a coveted All-Ireland medal.
Maher joined the Cork senior hurling team during the successful 1968–69 National League campaign. A 3–12 to 1–14 defeat of Wexford in the decider gave him his first National Hurling League medal. The subsequent provincial decider pitted Cork against reigning champions Tipperary. A 4–6 to 0–9 victory gave Cork a first defeat of Tipp since 1957 while it also gave Maher a first Munster medal. This victory paved the way for an All-Ireland showdown with Kilkenny, however, the team suffered a setback before the game when midfielder Justin McCarthy broke his leg in a motorcycle accident. In spite of this Cork led at the interval and looked a good bet for the victory, particularly after Kilkenny forward Pat Delaney left the field on a stretcher. The Rebels were still to the good coming into the last quarter, however, Kilkenny scored five unanswered points in the last seven minutes to win by 2–15 to 2–9.
In spite of the All-Ireland defeat, Cork regrouped during the 1969–70 National League. It was a successful campaign for the Rebels as an aggregate 5–21 to 6–16 defeat of New York gave Maher his second National Hurling League medal. The subsequent championship campaign saw Maher win his second Munster medal as Tipperary were accounted for by 3–10 to 3–8. Cork later qualified for the All-Ireland final with Wexford providing the opposition in the very first eighty-minute championship decider. The game saw a record 64-point score line for both teams as Cork's Eddie O'Brien scored a hat-trick of goals to give Cork a considerable lead. At the full-time whistle Cork were the winners by 6–21 to 5–10, giving Maher an All-Ireland medal.
In 1971 Maher had the honour of becoming Cork's first All-Star recipient when he was named on the inaugural team of the year selection.
Maher won a third Munster medal in 1972 following a 6–18 to 2–8 thrashing of Clare. The subsequent All-Ireland decider saw Cork face Kilkenny. The Rebels dominated the early exchanges and went eight points clear after a long-range score from wing-back Con Roche in the 17th minute of the second half. Remarkably they didn't score again. Kilkenny took control with Pat Henderson a key figure at centre-back and Eddie Keher cutting loose up front. They were level after a Frank Cummins goal and went on to win by eight points. Maher finished off the year by collecting a second All-Star award.
Two years later in 1974 Maher won a third National League medal as Cork defeated Limerick on a huge score line of 6–15 to 1–12.
The following year Maher won his fourth and final Munster medal following a 3–14 to 0–12 defeat of reigning provincial champions Limerick. Cork were later defeated by Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final in what was Maher's last appearance for Cork.
Maher also had the honour of being selected for Munster in the inter-provincial series of games. He made his debut with the province in 1970 and was a regular until his retirement in 1974. He enjoyed little success in this competition as Leinster dominated at the time.
Born in Cork in 1945, Maher was educated at Greenmount School and later attended the famous Coláiste Chríost Rí where he developed a great talent for hurling. Maher worked as a textile dyer after leaving school, before spending some time employed by the Ford Motor Company and later the Office of Public Works.
- St. Finbarr's
- All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship (2): 1975, 1978
- Munster Senior Club Hurling Championship (4): 1965, 1974, 1977, 1980
- Cork Senior Club Hurling Championship (7): 1965, 1968, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1982
- All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship (1): 1970
- Munster Senior Hurling Championship (4): 1969, 1970, 1972, 1975
- National Hurling League (3): 1968–69, 1969–70, 1973–74
- All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Championship (1): 1966
- Munster Under-21 Hurling Championship (1): 1966
- Railway Cup (1): 1970
- "St. Finbarr's: a history". St. Finbarr's GAA website. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Lewis, Simon (11 September 2011). "O'Brien hails Corbett's hat-trick heroics". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- O'Sullivan, Jim (1 September 2010). "Classic All-Ireland SHC finals – 1972: Kilkenny 3–24 Cork 5–11". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
- "Railway Cup Hurling". Munster GAA website. Retrieved 2 March 2013.