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Former Galway hurling captain opens up about his low-key departure from the squad last winter

David Collins won an All-Star, two league medals and a Leinster title with Galway.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

DAVID COLLINS LEFT the Galway panel last winter without much furore, but the former Young Hurler of the Year is satisfied he made the right decision.

Collins was one of five experienced players not to be included in Micheal Donoghue’s squad in October, along with Fergal Moore, Andy Smith, Cyril Donnellan and Iarla Tannian.

The full-back informed Donoghue about his decision to retire prior to that squad announcement and has no regrets with hanging up his boots.

Donnellan has since returned to the set-up and made his return off the bench as the Tribesmen hammered Tipperary in the league final, but Collins says his county days are behind him.

“I was absolutely thrilled with the win against Tipperary,” said the 33-year-old. ”Yeah, if I was younger I’d love to be back out there. I’m not, I’ve had my time. No regrets. Look it, I’m enjoying it from where I am.

“It is difficult to sit out of it because you are in it for 13 or 14 years and they are your best friends when you are in there and you’d die for all of them.

“But I am back with the club now, and the club is fantastic. I don’t have any regrets. I’ve had my time. Please god the boys can do it in September.”

Collins made it clear to the management after the 2016 campaign that it would be his last and he was relieved to bow out with his body still fit and able.

“We had many a chat with Micheal,” continued Collins. “I had kind of said that I was gone anyway. I had ran my race and I wished them the very best of luck you know, so that was really it.

“There was no qualms of conscience on his side. If we hurled well in club championship then the option is there if he wants to bring us back in. We are hurling, but I am happy enough where I am now.

“You see Donnellan coming back in there and I am delighted for Donnellan because Donnellan has so much more in his legs.

“Between myself and Andy we have a lot more on the clock. I am happy out. I want to give full commitment to the club for the next couple of years and I got out of it injury free and that’s what it’s all about.”

Liam Mellows’ clubman recently replaced Dermot Earley as the GPA president and it’s a role he’s enjoying. He has a particular interest in helping players develop their working careers outside of the game.

“It’s a great role to have. It’s great to be still part of it. On the voluntary basis you can do as much as you want, it’s all about what you can actually do for the players. Increasing the support that’s there and making the players aware of what is available to them in terms of programmes and things like interview techniques.

“When you’re in an inter-county set-up you forget about what life is like outside of it because it’s all go. Everything is about how you can improve performance, how you can get the best out of yourself and programme yourself. It’s what goes on after life.

“The biggest thing I fear is a player gets injured or gets dropped and hasn’t got a plan or programme to go, ‘Here this is what you need to do.’ That’s what the GPA is there for, to guide them along that way and be there for them if that case happens.

“To get that word out there is key for all players and the support that we’re receiving from the GAA and the government is fantastic. Our players are out there with the love of the game.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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