When he began playing senior hurling for Waterford, kids could still get in free to the Cusack Stand, RTE broadcast about five matches a year, and Charlie Haughey was still Taoiseach.
Today, just a few months short of his 41st birthday, Tony Browne has announced his retirement from inter-county hurling. He has released this statement in the last few minutes.
I would like to take this opportunity to officially announce my retirement from inter-county hurling.
To do so is always a tough decision for any athlete but I know I have been blessed in so many ways to have experienced what I have with the Waterford hurling teams over the past three decades.
I have loved and embraced every moment wearing the Waterford jersey from my earliest days. However, I know the time is now right for me to bring the curtain down on my county career.
I am so proud in knowing I have given my all to Waterford hurling. It is now time for others to enjoy and cherish the same honour and pride that I felt over the past 23 years representing Waterford.
Throughout those years I had the honour of playing with and against some of the greatest players ever seen in the game. I would like to thank all of the past and present players for their wonderful support and friendship throughout my career.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank all the coaches the back-room teams over the years and indeed the medical staff who helped me to prolong my career way beyond expectation.
I was very fortunate to have played under so many fantastic managers, all of whom contributed greatly to my career.
I would like to pay a special tribute to my club Mount Sion and my club colleagues for their support and guidance in helping me fulfil my potential as a hurler and as a person. The backing of my club enabled me to compete at the very highest level and follow my dreams.
It goes without saying the Waterford supporters are amongst the greatest in the GAA. I personally want to thank you for everything all through the years. I will cherish those cheers and your support for all time.
I so look forward to supporting Waterford GAA for many years ahead and wish the current players and management the very best for the future.
Finally to my family I sincerely thank you for your understanding, loyalty and support. I will be forever grateful for all you have done.
Tony Browne made his debut for Waterford aged 17, in the 1991 National League clash against Galway.
He won 4 Munster titles for Waterford between 2002 and 2010 and was named Hurler of the Year during Waterford's renaissance season of 1998. He is the most capped Waterford hurler of all time.
Anthony Daly once called Tony Browne "the classiest 38 year-old defender since Paolo Maldini."
— ConorMcKeon (@ConorMcKn) April 17, 2014
Best wishes to Tony Browne on his retirement. True legend of Waterford hurling one of the all time greats. #gaa #Waterford #tonybrowne
— Charlie Barry (@BarryRedbull1) April 17, 2014
It's not just all of #Waterford who loved this man. Respected all over Ireland - what a great career, Tony Browne! pic.twitter.com/dxuviCoOug
— Des Cahill (@sportsdes) April 17, 2014
Despite denying Cork the 2010 Munster title & generally hurling up a storm against the Rebels, you couldn't but love Tony Browne.
— Éamonn Murphy (@EamonnMurphy19) April 17, 2014