“It would have hurt me a small bit if the lads won it last year.”
Maurice Shanahan has admitted that it would have “hurt” if Waterford had won the All-Ireland final last year.
Last year was Shanahan’s first away from the inter-county set-up in 10 years and he revealed some of his emotions watching the final at home.
Shanahan on Waterford 2020.
Liam Cahill took over as Waterford senior hurling manager at the start of the 2020 season and unfortunately for Shanahan, the Tipperary man made the decision not to include the 31-year-old in his plans.
Many in the county were unhappy with Cahill’s decision to drop the 2015 All-Star hurler. But the Deise went on to reach the All-Ireland final after a sensational semi-final comeback over Kilkenny.
They ultimately came up short against Limerick in the final, losing 0-30 to 0-19.
For Shanahan, it was a different experience watching from the sidelines. He revealed he was hoping for a Waterford win but at the same time, was also regretting not being involved in the squad.
“It was definitely strange at the start, it’s probably strange still to be honest with you,” Shanahan said.
“When you see lads going off to training. You’d love to be going off with them still. There’s always a time that you either retire or you’re just told you’re not wanted anymore.
“It would have hurt me watching the matches last year, to be honest. But deep down I’m a Waterford man, and a proud Waterford man, and I wanted the lads to win.
“In the last 15 minutes of the Kilkenny game, when Stephen got the goal to bring them back into it, I got up and gave an old fist-pump inside in the sitting room.
“But then I had to go for a walk out the back, because it kind of hit home, Jesus, I would have loved to be still there helping the lads.”
Former All-Star Noel Connors was also dropped from the panel along with Shanahan.
The Lismore hurler admits that both himself and Connors would have been hurt if Waterford indeed went on to win their first All-Ireland title since 1959.
“Myself and Noel, we gave 10 years at it. Deep down, we always wanted Waterford to win an All-Ireland, 110 per cent,” Shanahan continued.
“But it probably would have hurt both of us too if they did, call a spade a spade. Because we gave so much, and the first year we’re gone is always the hardest year. It might be different this year going forward. But no, it would have hurt me a small bit if the lads won it last year.
“But by God, that didn’t mean I didn’t want the lads to win, because I have some great friends on that Waterford team, the likes of Moran and Austin Gleeson, Pauric Mahony, Philip Mahony (retired), them lads. Conor Prunty, all them.
“I texted them last year before the matches, wishing them all the best of luck. Deep down, hand on heart, I wanted Waterford to win.
“Would it have hurt me a small bit? Of course it would. But that’s just normality.”
However, he does believe it’ll be easier to watch his native county this season compared to last.
“It’ll definitely get easier and I probably 100 per cent wanted Waterford to win but it just hit home with 15 minutes to go, when you’re coming on the year before,” Shanahan added.
“At them times, you’d be saying you’d love to come on and help the lads but 100 per cent I wanted Waterford to win. Saying that, if it didn’t hurt me a small bit, Jesus I wouldn’t be human because I gave 10 years to the cause.
“Deep down, I wanted Waterford to win 100 per cent but saying that, you gave 10 years to the cause and the year you left, they win an All-Ireland. It would hurt a small bit but unfortunately, they didn’t win an All-Ireland.
“Next year, things will get easier. It probably won’t bother me as much to be honest with you.”
Shanahan was then asked whether he still had the hunger to go back and play with Waterford, if he did get the call-up.
“Yeah. If the call came, I would. I’d never turn my back on Waterford. I’m not getting any younger, that’s the only thing. I’m 31 now. People are saying the sport is getting younger every day,” Shanahan replied.
“Last year when Liam rang me and told me that I wasn’t part of the plans going forward, I said ‘leave me retire on my own terms’. But I slept on it, and I said ‘no I’m not going to retire’.
“You never know. A new manager might come in next year and he might see you as part of his plans, and things might be different. You might go back and give it a year.
“I dream about playing with Waterford again. It will probably never happen to be honest, but I would like to play with Waterford again.”
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