A thirst for trophies persuaded Pauric Mahony to sign up for a 10th season with the Waterford hurlers.
The new Déise captain has been part of the senior panel since he was 18.
“We’re chasing the ultimate goal really and it’s hard to let go of that. This year, there’s a freshness to the set-up which makes it a lot easier to put in the hard work.
“You don’t mind coming training when there’s a serious set-up there and a highly driven and motivated group of players.”
Three years on from the All Ireland final loss to Galway, he still believes that the Déise can compete for major honours. “If you didn’t think you could put a trophy on the table, I wouldn’t do it. That’s being straight up with you. What it takes now to get yourself into that position, it’s extreme.
“There’s a serious group of lads there that are training very hard over the last couple of months; there’s huge work going in.
“Now we’re really looking forward to putting that into practice.”
The 27-year-old only has the 2015 National League to show for his decade of service. “You’d nearly be embarrassed, after ten years, that that’s what you have to show for it.
“We put a lot into that league campaign because we lost the respect of the public, even in here in Waterford, for our performances the year before and we had to do something about it.
“We set out with a goal at the start of that league campaign and we went and achieved it.”
He misses his recently retired brother Philip. “It’s my first year playing that he won’t be around. It is going to be different. It will be tough for him coming into the championship watching games and not being out there.
“You weigh up the pros and cons when you’re making a decision like this. You don’t just rush into it. I’m sure he’s done that.”
Mahony discussed the matter with his older sibling over the winter. Philip wasn’t for turning.
“When someone has their mind made up, you have to respect their decision.
“He’s been thinking about it for a few weeks before it.
“If it was a rash call, I’d be saying ‘would you not give it a couple of weeks’.
He went through everything with me and there’s other things in his life that he wants to pursue now. He’s in the middle of building a house as well so he has a lot of stress on his plate with that.”
Philip has just turned 29 and Pauric feels that more and more players will call it a day in their twenties.
“The demands on inter-county players have changed a lot in the last couple of years no doubt about it.
““It’s no longer you just go training on a Tuesday and a Friday and play a match at the weekend. Every day there’s something.
“A day off is now called a recovery day. It’s taken as seriously as a professional sport. Ten years ago, if you retired at 32 or 33 it would have been considered young. Nowadays, you’re going to see more going in their mid to late 20s.”