Mullane: I made my mind up 12 months ago
Waterford's John Mullane has revealed that his decision to retire at the start of 2013 was in his mind 12 months ago.
Yesterday evening, Mullane announced his retirement in a press statement via the Gaelic Players Association and this morning on WLR FM's Deise AM programme he revealed the reasons why he decided not to be involved with the Deise hurlers this year.
"I had my mind made up last year. I remember we were running up the hills around Carriganore," he said.
"Myself and two of my buddies that I actually started out with, Eoin McGrath and Eoin Kelly and I think it was 'Banger' (Shane) Casey. The four of us, and I think we did about 10 or 12 of them, and I remember coming down the hills of Carriganore and physically was nearly just getting sick."
It was those trialling conditions at the WIT Sports Campus that first sowed the seed that 2012 may be the last year for the five-time All-Star in the Waterford jersey.
"I just turned around to the lads. We kind of knew ourselves that this was going to be our last year. I knew then coming down them hills that that was it," he said.
The 31-year old has won league and Munster titles since his first appearance with Waterford in 2001, and is the third highest Waterford scorer of all time.
With fellow Deiseman Tony Browne, eight years his senior and still throwing his lot in with the county in 2013, many felt surprised by Mullane's decision to call it a day.
However, the electrician said mentally it was just too challenging to keep it going for another year.
"Physically I feel I could go for another year or two, but mentally it's just after taking over. It's after breaking me. I just feel sapped from it. And there is a certain element of pressure from it too.
"I remember talking to Stephanie at home and over the last couple of years, the amount of pressure that I have put on myself.
"I was only talking to her and I said, 'Jesus, the amount of pressure I'm after putting myself under the last five or six years to constantly go out and perform and to not leave anyone down.' I just wanted to leave that go.
"I suppose it's the level of commitment then, and there were family reasons too. It is a young man's game. The bar is being raised every year."
The talented forward confesses it was tough to come to terms with his decision to retire.
"I got a moment to myself yesterday. I went up to my room and started bawling my eyes out. It's easy for people to say, give it another year or two, but when you are in there, it's tough," he said.
"I'm just glad to be a part of a golden era, to play on some great Waterford teams and to play with some great Waterford players over the years."
Mullane was quick to rubbish suggestions in some newspaper reports that his decision to end his inter-county career came as a result of not being offered the Waterford captaincy by manager Michael Ryan.
"I met Michael there during the week. Michael had spoken to me during September and he offered me the captaincy then and I told Michael, 'the best thing you can do now Michael is give the captaincy to a 25 or 26 year-old going forward where it will stand to him.'
"I would have liked to have it when I was 26 but that wasn't to be. The captains that were in there did a fantastic job and I told Michael, 'I think the best thing to do is to give it to a 25 or 26 year old that is in his prime'.
"We were only speaking about it the other night and we came up with a name and the fella that we think will probably captain Waterford this year is a great choice, and would be my choice. But that never affected me."