Mullen keen to make his mark with Cody's Cats
There was no shortage of heroes for Adrian Mullen growing up in Ballyhale but they don't come much bigger than Henry Shefflin, so to win last month's All-Ireland club SHC title with him at the helm was special.
"It's unreal. I remember when I was a young lad anyway, myself and the four brothers, we used to leave out our hurls, Henry's mother used to be walking up the road," the 2018/'19 AIB GAA Club Hurler of the Year (above) said.
"She used to take our hurls and get them signed by Henry.
"Then to be managed by him, it's just unreal, I can't really describe, you just have to take it in your stride and learn off him. I suppose we weren't really expecting it (All-Ireland success). That's all down to Henry."
The 10-time All-Ireland SHC winner will remain in charge for this season while Mullen's whirlwind career continues with the 19-year-old parachuted straight into the Kilkenny senior fold.
Mullen, along with older brother Darren (21), and the rest of the seven-strong Ballyhale contingent, returned to training with the Cats just three days after their club triumph.
Getting a call from legendary Kilkenny boss Brian Cody "a few months ago" left the first year DCU business student stunned.
"You don't really believe it in the moment, then you actually realise he is being serious. You're just in shock like.
"Once you get in there then you kind of try and use every session to get better."
Mullen didn't have to wait long for a first senior start when lining out 10 days after club success during the Friends of Kieran O'Connor challenge game against Cork, but admits he didn't have his finest hour.
He doesn't buy in to the notion that Kilkenny are on a downward spiral, however, and he feels that Cody's Cats will be a match for anyone come summer.
"We believe as players we can beat anyone on our day, we kind of just block out all what everyone else is saying. We just concentrate on ourselves and try and do our best every day," he said.
"And if our best isn't good enough, so be it. But that's all you can do - try your best - and we believe we can beat everyone on our day."