John Mullane: You train to win trophies, not All-Stars
It's the time of year again when debate rages over who, or who should not, have been awarded a GAA All-Star.
On Saturday night Limerick dominated the 2020 team, with nine of John Kiely's all-conquering side making the 15. One man who missed out was Treaty midfielder William O'Donoghue, with Anthony Daly describing his omission as "an unbelievable decision".
Waterford legend John Mullane won five All-Stars during his career, but he told RTÉ's Sunday Sport that he'd give them all up for just one Celtic Cross.
"I find it's very difficult, even doing the radio, in around the All-Ireland finals," the De La Salle man said.
"You do be saying, 'Jesus I would have loved to have gotten over the line just once'.
"It's a nice second or a nice third after winning a Munster Championship, but I would give up all five of them for one All-Ireland medal. It's the ultimate prize at the end of the day.
"When you start out in January, it isn't in your head, 'I want to go and win an All-Star'. What's in your head is, 'I want to go and win a trophy, I want to get up the steps of Semple Stadium, get up the steps of the Hogan Stand'. That's the ultimate goal for any hurler."
Déise trio Tadhg de Burca, Jamie Barron and Stephen Bennett all made this year's All-Star team as reward for their winter exploits. Waterford came up short in the final against Limerick, but Mullane highlighted the quality his county has produced over the last two decades.
"Waterford have given so much to the game over the last 22, 23 years... albeit we haven't won the All-Ireland.
"With last night's three, I think we have 30-something All-Stars in the space of 22, 23 years. That just goes to show you what we've given to the game over the course of that period of time.
"What's probably in the back of your mind [at the start of the season] is, you want to be in form, you to be consistent, consistently playing well.
"If you are in form and playing consistently well then you're always going to be in the reckoning to win an All-Star.
"But from the get-go, come January, you don't train to win an All-Star. You train to win trophies."