Callanan admits retirement could have come earlier in career

Callanan admits retirement could have come earlier in career

Tipperary's Seamus Callanan has asserted that the decision to hang up his hurling gear could have occurred at a quite different time in his career. 

The Drom and Inch clubman is regarded as one of the county's best-ever hurlers, having played a pivotal role in Tipperary's three All-Ireland victories in 2010, 2016, and 2019, as well as securing a National League title in 2008. Additionally, he earned the "Hurler of the Year" award in 2019, a year when Tipperary claimed their second All-Ireland under the management of Liam Sheedy. 

This year, in September, Callanan decided to step away from inter-county hurling, citing injury troubles as a primary reason for his departure. 

However, in 2014, Callanan faced a critical crossroads in his career before achieving success with Tipperary. With support from Tipperary's then-manager, Eamon O’Shea, he was convinced to continue his journey. Speaking on The Game on Sunday podcast,t, Callanan reflected, "At the start of 2014, I was at a bit of a crossroads. It was a challenging period for a young player like me. The spark from my early years in ‘08 and ‘09 had well and truly faded." 

He continued, "Eamon [O’Shea, Tipperary manager] said to me at the start of the year, ‘I want to make you my main man, I believe in you, so show me what you can do,’ and we just went at it. Despite an initial setback, losing to Limerick in the first round of the Championship, I was fortunate to retain my place." 

Seamus Callanan. Photo: INPHO.

Expressing gratitude for overcoming challenges, Callanan acknowledged, "There were times when I questioned if this was for me and if I could make it. Thank God for perseverance, and I stayed the course." 

The Thurles native also provided further insight into his decision to walk away from the game in September. According to the former Tipp star, the decision wasn't difficult. "I met with Liam Cahill and Mikey Bevans on three different occasions at the start of 2023 about rejoining the panel for the recently concluded season. I was unsure about returning, but after a couple of meetings, I decided to give it a go for the year, always knowing it would be a one-year commitment." 

Reflecting on the retirement announcement, Callanan admitted, "Throughout the year, I was fine with the decision. When you press the button to announce retirement, memories flood back, and it becomes a challenging thing to do, but I’d say the decision wasn’t difficult."