While getting his hands on the County Senior Hurling trophy is his top priority right now, it’s clear that the All-Ireland Hurling final defeat continues to stick in the craw of John Mullane’s throat.
Writing in the new edition of ‘Hurling World’ magazine, the brainchild of Galway-based Frank Burke, the De La Salle clubman recalls the hurt of September 14th.
“I’m still asking myself the same questions, trying to find answers as to how it all went so wrong,” says Mullane. “I still haven’t come up with any yet.”
Customarily honest, Mullane feared the worst for Waterford at a very early stage against a rampant Kilkenny side.
He states: “I really started to think that it was gone even before Kilkenny got their first goal. At (six points to two) down, I really started to think it was gone from us.
“I know that was early in the game and it was early in the game and it was only a few points but they came at us like an avalanche. It was wave after wave, attack after attack.”
Recalling the champions’ remarkable application of the game’s skills, Mullane believes that the rest of the country must somehow tap into the Kilkenny mindset. Otherwise, he warns ominously, “they won’t compete”.
Adds the All-Star nominee: “If other counties don’t adjust to Kilkenny’s ways, it’s frightening to think what they could achieve in the next couple of years…they were like swarms of wasps around our players…
“One team that did show glimpses of playing like Kilkenny was Tipperary and they’ve also been training in that way of thinking but other teams have to come up to the mark – and fast.”
Recalling the post-match atmosphere in the Deise dressing room, Mullane notes the silence which engulfed a shell-shocked group.
“We didn’t turn up and not fulfilling our potential was a huge disappointment,” he writes.
“We had to be awesome and they had to have an off day for us to win. I haven’t come round to watching the DVD of the game yet. I’m not sure I ever will.”
Read John Mullane’s column in the latest issue of ‘Hurling World’, priced €5