FOR Eoin Brosnan, football is what happened until life got in the way. So, when Paul Galvin walked away last Saturday night, he was surprised, but understood.
Brosnan walked away from the inter-county scene late last year, but since his inter-county debut in 2000 and even as he set out on a career as a solicitor, pursuit of glory with Kerry consumed him and relegated most things to second place.
Last year was the final roll of the dice. It didn't work out the way he'd planned, but having previously retired in 2009, he knew he was doing the right thing. It was time for other things to come first.
"I'm sure that, from Paul's point of view, he has a living to make," Brosnan said.
"A lot of his work would be weekend and evening-based and I'm sure his inter-county career was hindering his personal career.
"There are only so many years you can do that, because, obviously, it's an amateur sport and you have bills to pay.
"I know myself I had my decision made, even at the start of last year, that it was going to be one more year. We have three young kids and the balance, I was finding it very, very hard.
"Last season I tried to give it everything. It wasn't an ideal year for form and for injuries and different things, but I knew myself that I had a good innings really and I couldn't say that I had a whole pile of regrets."
In interviews since his retirement, Galvin has referenced the increasing scrutiny players are coming under with their heightened profile and it's a view Brosnan can empathise with.
"I'd be generally a quiet enough individual, but you'd be walking down the street and, you know, everyone knows you and whatnot.
"There'd be hidden sides to it, where you're getting letters in the post, some good, some bad and you're doing this as an amateur.
"I stepped away and, when Jack O'Connor asked me back, I had a good couple of years and I enjoyed the last couple of years probably more so than I did earlier in my career.
"There were crazy ones (letters), but there were good ones too. Even when you stepped away, you'd be getting retirement cards from throughout the country and people meaning really well about it.
"I can see exactly where he's (Galvin) coming from and, even myself, that would have been a factor in '09 when I stepped away from it.
"The public profile of an inter-county player is not that easy and he had it multiplied by 10 compared with how I had it. It's not easy, but, having said that, there's a balance, because he's making a career out of it (being in the public eye) at the same time. So he has to put up with a certain amount."
The careers of Galvin and Brosnan have followed similar paths since they won a Munster club title together with UCC, when Galvin won the province's club player of the year award for a series of stunning performances as a wing-back.
Brosnan also switched from an attacker to establish himself at centre-back, a switch that Galvin also looked set to make before his announcement.
There are few better placed to comment on the merits of changing position mid-career than the Dr Crokes man, who has started All-Ireland finals in defence, midfield and in attack.
As part of their preparations for Saturday week's AIB All-Ireland club semi-final clash with Dublin's St Vincent's, Dr Crokes faced a Kerry side that featured Galvin at centre-back in a challenge game.
And while it might have taken time for the Finuge man to settle into the role, Brosnan believes Galvin had the skills to make the switch to the heart of Kerry's defence.
"It was going to be interesting. Certainly, when Paul came into the team in 2003 and '04, it was Jack O'Connor who reinvented him as a wing-forward.
"He was an absolutely brilliant wing-back, so when he came in at wing-forward, it was a little bit new at the time. I reinvented myself as a defender as well, I had never ever played in defence before '08-'09 with the club, so it was certainly well within his capabilities."