By Barry McEneaney
Waterford star John Mullane has announced his retirement from inter-county hurling.
The De La Salle clubman burst on to the inter-county scene with the Déise in 2001 and became a permanent fixture on the team.
Mullane was a mainstay in Waterford teams that mopped up four Munster SHC titles (2002, 2004, 2007, 2010) and a National Hurling League title (2007). However, All-Ireland glory was to elude the fiery forward and a final appearance in 2008 resulted in a drubbing at the hands of a Kilkenny side operating at the peak its powers.
The 31-year-old’s individual exploits resulted in him scooping a total of five All Stars, the first coming in 2003, with others earned in a four-year spell from 2009-2012.
"The sense of genuine pride I got from wearing the Waterford jersey and representing the county I love will live with me forever" - John Mullane
A statement released via the Gaelic Players Association read: "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.”