The news broke earlier this week that Austin Gleeson would not be involved with the Waterford senior hurling panel for 2024.
The Mount Sion man told the Irish Examiner that, "I just don’t have the drive to do it, really,” following ten years as a senior intercounty hurler.
His manager Davy Fitzgerald was speaking to Radio Kerry this week, telling Ian O Connell on "Stand Out" that Gleeson is "one of the best players I've seen over a number of years. His talent is incredible."
Gleeson was unsure of playing in 2023 but says that he decided to commit to the project following consultation with the management team.
“Around this time last year, I was hemming and hawing about playing and I met Davy for the first time in Clonmel and then I met Donncha in Dungarvan and had good chats with them. I spoke to the players after that and made the decision that I was going to go back. They were all huge in me changing my mind,” he told John Fogarty.
This week, on Radio Kerry, Fitzgerald acknowledged those conversations, saying that he was part of convincing the 2016 Hurler of the Year and Young Hurler of the Year to stay on.
"We probably forced Austin last year to be part of the panel and I don't think Austin really wanted to be there himself. I think he needed a break and we forced him and the last thing you should do is force someone because you're pushing them to do extra stuff and they can get injured easier."
While the Clare native will have to put his thinking cap on for the upcoming season, he is content that Gleeson has made the right choice.
"I think you have to be 100% ready to go if you are there. Austin has been around a long time and maybe I should have listened to him when he said he needed a break. Would I like him with us in Waterford? Of course. I'm not stupid. He's a phenomenal talent, but you need people saying, 'Yeah, I really want to be here.'"