“It’s kind of hard to keep contact with 32 or 33 lads all the time, so that’s kind of the reality.”
Keith Higgins has revealed the hardest part of retiring from the Mayo football set-up.
Higgins announced his Mayo football retirement – although he will continue with the county’s hurlers – during a week where a host of his teammates also stepped away from inter-county commitments.
Higgins made a total of 70 championship appearances for Mayo, winning eight Connacht titles, one National League, and one All-Ireland U21 title.
The 35-year-old also collected the 2006 Young Footballer of the Year award while also picking up four All-Stars during a memorable career.
A coveted All-Ireland medal eluded the defender despite great All-Ireland final battles with Dublin in 2016, 2017, and 2020 as well as countless heartbreaking semi-final defeats.
The Ballyhaunis man spoke about how leaving the WhatsApp group was one of the hardest things to do after telling manager James Horan he was stepping away from the panel.
“From my own point of view, I’ll do a bit of hurling with Mayo there as well so at least it’s something to look forward to,” Higgins told The Sun.
“The fact that you have something in your mind that will keep you busy and occupied might make it a bit different from other guys who have finished up I suppose.
“I left the WhatsApp group the evening we announced it.”
Higgins admits that leaving the WhatsApp group was tough as it would be his “last communication” with a lot of his former teammates.
“I had told James Horan about two weeks before that,” Higgins continued.
“I wouldn’t say it was the hardest part of it, but it kind of hits home that it will probably be your last communication with an awful lot of lads in a certain way.
“As well as you get on with everyone, you will call them friends for the rest of your life but the reality of it is I might only see them a couple of times a year.
Higgins admitted that it is hard to “keep contact with 32 or 33 lads all the time” and this is something that comes with the territory of stepping away from the panel.
“It’s kind of hard to keep contact with 32 or 33 lads all the time, so that’s kind of the reality,” Higgins added.
“It is difficult, but that’s the joys of sport.”