Sunday 4 December 2016

Mullane identifies with Corbett as Waterford star takes six weeks out

Published 08/02/2012 | 05:00

John Mullane has confirmed that he will return to Waterford squad training within five to six weeks.

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Mullane has stepped away from training for the immediate future because he feels he cannot currently give the commitment required.

But he has promised to return "sometime after St Patrick's Day" and play in Waterford's final few league matches.

Mullane will continue to adhere to a gym programme during his time away from collective training.

"I sat down with the management two weeks ago and I basically told them that I needed five or six weeks. I was in since January 1. I was finding it difficult at home. I have two young girls. I was going to training and I just wasn't enjoying it," he said on RTE's 'Sport at Seven' last night.

"I felt, from my own point of view, it was the best decision. I would continue with the team but do a different programme, continue with the weights and come back in in five or six weeks' time.

"I'll probably miss the first half of the league and I'll be back after St Patrick's Day. I'm basically trying to shorten the year as much as I can for myself. I can't find enough time in the day or in the week at the moment. It's more for myself. I feel it might suit myself and, please God, Waterford."

Commitment

Mullane said he remained optimistic for Waterford in 2012 but questioned the commitment inter-county hurlers and footballers are being asked to give their sport now.

"I think we're in with a great shout and I have no doubt that I'll be part of it too," he added.

"But the commitment that is required is just astonishing. The bar is being raised every year. I can fully see where Lar is coming from. It's an unbelievable amount of time that is required to play at the level required.

"The game is changing, the speed of it is changing since I came in. When I came in first there were no gym programmes, no hydration levels, it's just gone through the roof.

"The professionalism is incredible. I don't know where it is all going to end.

"You get up in the morning and go to work, to get the time for four or five nights' (training) a week and probably a weekend -- it's incredible."

Waterford manager Michael Ryan could not be contacted last night, but county chairman Tom Cunningham stressed there was nothing new about Mullane stepping back at this time of year.

For the last two seasons Mullane has been one of a number of players who former manager Davy Fitzgerald gave a break to in the early part of the season.

"I have spoken to Michael Ryan on this. He met with John Mullane and there was agreement between them that he could step back for a few weeks," said Cunningham. "But he is still training in the gym. There is nothing unusual about this and we expect him back for the last few games of the league."

Mullane's move comes just days after it was confirmed that Michael 'Brick' Walsh would captain Waterford this season.

Mullane might have felt entitled to the captaincy after the service he has given since making his big breakthrough in 2002.

His leadership has been more pronounced than ever over the last couple of seasons, especially in the wake of the crushing Munster final defeat to Tipperary last July.

Walsh has led Waterford before; in 2007 when they won the league and in '08 when they reached an All-Ireland final in Fitzgerald's first year in charge.

Ryan has already had to deal with the controversial omission from the squad of Eoin Kelly on fitness grounds.

Irish Independent

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