Henry Shefflin has hinted that this could be his last season as an inter-county hurler.
Speaking to The Irish Times ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling semi-final against Limerick (Live on RTÉ Two from 2.45pm), the Ballyhale Shamrocks clubman said that retirement is “very, very close now.”
However, the 35-year-old made it clear that he wouldn't make any final decision until the end of the season.
Kilkenny are 70 minutes away from another All-Ireland final, with Shefflin in the hunt to win a 10th medal.
After overcoming another serious injury – a stress fracture in his foot – ‘King Henry’ played his part as the Cats regained the Leinster title. He fired over 0-03 when introduced as a sub in the decider against Dublin.
All told, Shefflin feels there is a good vibe within the Black and Amber camp this summer.
“I think the atmosphere is very positive this year because the players know that no matter what, and we’ve seen it, if players are showing form in training they will be playing.
“So I think that keeps everyone on their toes. It keeps serious competition there but as well for players on the extended panel, they can see the light.
"They can see there are opportunities here. Obviously that creates a very good, a very positive atmosphere in the camp.”