Now 31, Kevin Moran begins his 13th championship campaign with Waterford this weekend.
There have been two Munster hurling final wins during this period, two All-Stars, a first championship triumph over Kilkenny since 1959 and All-Ireland semi-final victories over Tipperary and Cork.
But more so than the wins it is the losses, the Munster final defeats, the occasions where Waterford have fallen short in August and September that have stayed with Moran.
Just as it is the case that the horrible low he felt when the final whistle sounded against Galway last autumn far outweighed the euphoria which greeted their All-Ireland semi-final win over Cork weeks earlier.
“Even if we win a match, there are times when you spend the night wondering about why I failed to play well. Then when you play well, you think about the fact you may be targeted the next day. You definitely take the defeats way, way harder than the victories,” the Waterford hurler admitted.
“There are times, situations in games, where you hate it. Like the Cork game last year in the Munster championship, the aftermath of that was horrific for some reason. It was a bad personal performance from me, a bad day at the office for the team. You question yourself after that. You question everything. One thing is we stuck together as a group and really worked hard for the summer.”
Moran continued: “There is no solace to whatever anyone says or does, you are going to be disappointed after losing an All-Ireland semi or final.
“It has been so tricky trying to get to an All-Ireland final. You have seen the likes of Galway, they came so close over the years, losing finals and semi-finals by tight margins. We are no different.
“The aftermath to it was very difficult and the only positive was going back to the club. There are times it comes back into your head, because it is so disappointing, but before your know it, you are getting ready in your head for the next campaign.”
Striking a balance has been key and ensured that at 31, Moran is still as “fond” of inter-county life as when he broke onto the scene in 2006.
“You go about your normal daily routine and don’t think about it too much.
“I have never had days where [I think it is too much time for too little return].
“I have been lucky in that regard. I work locally, train two minutes from my house, and the gym we use is about five minutes away. That’s a huge help. I know there is huge training involved, but I work with guys who are triathletes and they train as much as we do.”
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