Derek McGrath says the emotional send-off with his Waterford hurling squad at his home will live with him for the rest of his life and admitted the players tried to persuade him to stay on for another year.
Last night McGrath officially confirmed an end to his five-year stint in charge of the Déise hurlers following the Munster Championship defeat to Cork.
Waterford, already eliminated following a disappointing run of results and lengthy injury list, failed to win a provincial title with McGrath in charge, but became a serious All-Ireland contender in that period, losing out to Galway in last year’s decider by just three points.
They also won the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 crown in 2015 after an emphatic final defeat of Cork.
McGrath decided not to inform the players of his decision until the team dinner that evening - "we didn’t want to take away from Brick’s day" - and the following evening the entire panel were invited to his house to mark the occasion.
"The plan was to have all of them over to the house last night, including the backroom team," he told RTÉ Sport's Marty Morrissey.
"We had a bit of a sing-song, we had a few pints"
"There were 52 of us there, including 30 players. Three players, Philip [Mahony], Darragh [Fives] and Tadhg [de Burca] went to Australia Monday morning and couldn’t make it.
"We had a bit of a sing-song, we had a few pints.
"It was very emotional, we were reminiscing on things. We have always said, even if it sounds a bit corny, part of our whole ethos is to make memories, good or bad. Last night will live with me forever."
He also revealed that the players did try and persuade him to go again for 2019.
"A number of players would have asked me in terms of giving it another year. The litany of ill-luck and misfortune we had this year only swayed me temporarily.
"I have to be completely honest and say I had my mind made up."
After deciding to stay on following the All-Ireland final defeat, it was expected that McGrath would depart, admitting that he owed it to his family to cut his ties with the demands of inter-county management.
"It’s been a complete immersion for the management team. The break is needed"
"It’s something I have mulled over for a year. It wasn’t an upshot decision based on what happened in the Munster Championship.
"It’s been a complete immersion for the management team. The break is needed. I have been under no pressure at home
"I feel like I should be giving more to my family."
He will return to work as a secondary school teacher in September following a career break and says that will be the next challenge on the horizon.
"I’m an all-in type character and the inability to give it 100% next year swayed my decision.
"I miss the boys in school. I look forward to that challenge again and being a good teacher again."