Four days after helping Ballyhale win their fourth consecutive Kilkenny hurling title, Joey Holden announced that he was calling time on his inter-county career.
The two-time All-Ireland winner, the last Kilkenny captain to lift Liam MacCarthy in 2015, knew his time was up following the Cats' defeat to Cork in August's semi-final.
"Once Kilkenny was over I knew that was it, but I was keen to get back with the club and concentrate on that," said Holden ahead of this weekend's AIB Leinster club hurling final.
"Once we won the county final I was keen to get that message out because I know that the start of next season starts [in December], and the planning and preparation that the management team and players have to do in pre-season. I just wanted to make sure that everyone was aware that I wouldn't be a part of that."
Still just 31, Holden called time as he felt he would no longer be giving everything to the Kilkenny jersey.
Joey Holden on Kilkenny retirement
"I just felt it was the right time for me," he explained.
"In my own mind I was never going to be hurling up until 35, 36.
"I was satisfied with what I had given. I suppose I didn’t really start a whole lot last year either so I just felt I wouldn’t be giving that 100 per cent commitment. 99 per cent would be no good for me. That one per cent is the difference.
"It can make it very difficult to give the best version of yourself if you’re not 100 per cent committed. I didn’t want to be a player that was in there maybe getting frustrated with not playing and being a bad influence then or [creating] a bad atmosphere.
"So I felt I was happy enough with what I had done and had other things I’d want to look at in the future and maybe start concentrating on them.
"I just felt I wouldn’t have that 100 per cent and I think you need it to do the hard slog of pre-season and get ready for a full year.
"The other side of things then is that if you are looking at other things you'd like to do, whether it be travelling or other ventures you'd like to get into, that can take away. You can't do it all. It's a big commitment when you're in there. When you're looking at other things, you can't juggle them all, and something has to give."
A great week celebrating with my club ☘️☘️ But time now to bring an end to my time with Kilkenny. Many great memories especially the honour to represent Ballyhale and Kilkenny in lifting the Liam McCarthy. Thanks to all who have helped along the way, now onto the next chapter pic.twitter.com/DI4O2YCwtw
— Joey Holden (@joeyholden02) November 11, 2021
This weekend, Holden will line out for Ballyhale in the Leinster club final against Laois champions Clough-Ballacolla.
"You have to perform with your club and be a leader in your club to get in with Kilkenny," said Holden.
"To get back there, and drive the standards the best you can, that's always something that's very important to me. I've been lucky enough for my club to develop me and give me the opportunity to come in [with Kilkenny]. I'd like to get back there, and help other young players. In Ballyhale, hurling is the number one thing; it's what the community comes together for."
Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
This year's AIB Club Championships celebrate #TheToughest players in Gaelic Games - those who are not defined by what they have won, but by how they persevere no matter what - and this Sunday's showdown is set to be no exception.