Browne set to embark on yet another campaign
Tony Browne looks set to extend his time span as an inter-county hurler to a 21st year.
Browne, who will be 39 at the height of the hurling championship next summer, attended Michael Ryan's first meeting with players as the new Waterford manager set out his plans for the future.
Browne has yet to fully commit to another season, but his presence at that meeting would suggest that he has not yet decided to park an extraordinary career.
The Mount Sion man has in recent years left it until March to make a return to training by agreement with the previous manager Davy Fitzgerald.
Whether Ryan and his new team affords him the same space remains to be seen. Ryan said Browne is in his plans and he is currently part of an extended 52-man squad.
"Tony is an All Star nominee this year so that indicates quite a decent level of form. He attended the players' meeting and we spoke, but I don't think he'll make a commitment or a decision for a while yet," said Ryan.
Remarkably, Browne's game has improved right throughout his 30s and even though he vowed he would not hurl beyond the age of 37, he has passed that deadline now.
"Tony has always looked after himself exceptionally well. He has always returned in great condition, so we'll see," said Ryan.
"We are looking at 52 now but over the next two months we'll be paring it back down to get ready to start training in January."
The former Kerry physical trainer Pat Flanagan has come on board with Ryan for next season.
The only two members of the 2011 squad who have retired are goalkeeper Clinton Hennessy and defender Eoin Murphy, who sustained a serious head injury in a club match during the season.