AIB’s ‘The Toughest Trade’. Some players swap shirts: These will swap sports

Picture of Brendan Maher in a cricket top with a cricket bat and ball with a darkened background.

Tipperary captain Brendan Maher admits to nerves as he prepares to try his hand at professional cricket. Maher is currently in Australia training with the Adelaide Strikers.

But Tipp fans needn’t worry that the double All Star is about to swap his hurl for a cricket bat - it’s just a short-term swap.

“I’m under no illusions that this is going to be really hard,” said the 27-year-old former Young Hurler of the Year. “I’m expecting a massive challenge, but I have no expectations of how many balls I’m going to hit.

“I’m just going to go out and try to do as best I can; try and adapt to whatever I have to face.”

Maher is Down Under for a week as part of a swap-deal arranged by long-time GAA Club Championships backers AIB. AIB has commissioned The Toughest Trade; a cutting-edge documentary film as part of its #TheToughest campaign.

Following the success of its debut documentary in 2015, AIB will take a fresh, in-depth look at how other professional sports compare to the amateur AIB GAA Club Championships. Last year’s film featured Kilkenny hurler Jackie Tyrell, retired Armagh star Aaron Kernan, former England soccer international David Bentley and baseball great Brian Schneider and now Maher is in front of the cameras.

He is currently training with the Strikers, the leading team in Australia’s most exciting cricket tournament, the Big Bash and getting ready to face some of the quickest fast bowlers on the planet, who send balls down the wicket as quickly as 140km/h. While he admits that this is a scary prospect, he says it’s an incredible opportunity for a hurler from Ireland and an amateur athlete.

“There are not too many lads who can say they got an opportunity to do something like this. To get the chance to go and have a go at it is probably once in a lifetime, said Maher.

“Naturally, I would be very competitive and I probably will end up putting a bit of pressure on myself, but I can’t get bogged down in ‘I have to do this, I have to do that’. I just want to do the best I can.”

Brian Keating, AIB Group Brands Director commented “We’ve long believed that the AIB GAA Club Championships could be the toughest sporting tournament in the world.”

“Last year in our debut documentary, our participants agreed that the fitness and commitment expected of our amateur players was on par with those playing professionally in the Premier League and Major League” continued Keating.

“This year with ‘The Toughest Trade’ AIB wants to delve deeper into the preconceptions and realities of amateur and professional sport, to once again prove that leading Irish amateur sports people can excel in new and different sporting disciplines .” Keating explained.

Watch our latest 'Toughest Trade'teaser video on YouTube.

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