Mullane announces intercounty retirement

Waterford hurling star John Mullane has retired from inter-county hurling, it was confirmed today.

The 31-year-old right corner forward, a five-time All-Star, has been a standout performer for the Déise since his Championship debut against Limerick back in 2001.

A veritable ball of energy on the pitch, Mullane has been a talismanic figure for both De La Salle and Waterford and leaves hurling's top tier with four Munster SHC medals (2002, 2004, 2007 and 2010).

All-Ireland success remained frustratingly out of the Déise's reach with the closest Mullane came to a Celtic Cross medal being the 2008 All-Ireland final appearance which saw Kilkenny cruise to a comfortable victory.

The explosive attacker, who was a regular scorer from play on big Championship Sundays, also won Allianz Hurling League honours in 2007.

He claimed a spread of five All-Star awards - beginning in 2003 and including one in each of the past four seasons - and will be keen to add to the brace of Munster Club titles that De La Salle won in 2008 and 2010.

In a statement issued via the Gaelic Players Association, Mullane said: "I wish to announce my retirement from inter-county hurling. After months of deliberation I feel the time is right to bring the curtain down on my inter-county career.

"The sense of genuine pride I got from wearing the Waterford jersey and representing the county I love will live with me forever.

"Throughout those 13 years I was fortunate enough to play with some great players. I would like to thank all the players sincerely for their support, and more importantly, their friendship.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to extend a big thank you to my coaches, managers, medical and backroom team and all of the friends I have made throughout my career on and off the field.

"Gerald McCarthy, Justin McCarthy, Davy Fitzgerald and Michael Ryan all contributed greatly to my career and I benefitted immensely from all of them.

"My relationship with the Waterford supporters has always been a very special one and I sincerely thank them for their support in both good and bad times.

"I would like to pay tribute to my club De La Salle for providing me with the necessary solid foundations and guidance to allow me to compete at the highest level and I look forward to the new challenges that lie ahead.

"In conclusion, I wish to thank my family and my wife Stephanie for their loyalty and support over the years.

“I look forward to supporting Waterford for the years ahead and would like to wish the current management and team the very best for the coming season.”

Mullane's departure leaves the spotlight firmly focused on another of the Déise's battle-hardened veterans - evergreen defender Tony Browne.

Waterford boss Michael Ryan will reportedly talk to Browne in the coming days about his inter-county future. The former Hurler of the Year and All-Star turns 40 in July.

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