OLLIE Moran, who turned out for Limerick in 13 consecutive seasons, has decided to call a halt to his inter-county hurling career.
Moran, one of Limerick's finest servants since he made his inter-county debut for the Shannonsiders in 1997, played his final game for the county last August when Justin McCarthy's men suffered a heavy All-Ireland semi-final defeat at the hands of Tipperary.
The 33-year-old, who won county titles with Ahane in 1998, 1999 and 2004, explained to Leader Sport that a cartilage problem in his right knee hastened his departure from the inter-county scene: "I had my mind made up before I walked off the field in Croke Park after the Tipperary game.
"It was a big struggle for me to get fit this year and I knew that 2009 was going to be my last hurrah."
Although Moran never let Limerick down he believes that the 2001 and 2007 campaigns represent his finest performances for Limerick.
"They were the only two years that we had a decent run in the championship and personally I felt that I played well in both 2001 and 2007," Ollie Moran said.
"We really left the 2001 Munster final behind us, Tipp got the rub of the green that day and then went on to win the All-Ireland.
"2007 was also unique and the three games we had against Tipperary were definitely the highlight of my career. They were super games to be involved in."
Off the back of some extraordinary performances at centre-forward Ollie Moran inspired Limerick to an All-Ireland final appearance against Kilkenny two years ago. Indeed Moran's displays earned him an All Star in 2007: "I always had reservations about playing centre-forward, but as that year went on I got better and better - everything just caught fire for me."
Ollie Moran, who won five Railway Cups with Munster, launched his own business this year - Ollie Moran Financial Services - while the Ahane man was also thrilled when he celebrated the birth of his son David with his wife Lisa last April.
You suspect that if Moran brings the same commitment and desire to his business as he did to hurling that Ollie is destined for success in the financial world. Those developments in Moran's life however made it more difficult for the incredibly popular Ahane man to give hurling the commitment it deserved: "It was difficult for me to give time to Limerick this year and to work on getting my form back. At times I didn't think I was in the position to do myself justice."
Moran, who joined the extended Limerick panel as a 22-year-old in 1996, remains proud of his exploits with the Shannonsiders despite only winning a National League title in 1997.
"Some guys get more medals than others and there's a lot of poor players out there who won a lot more than I did," Moran explained.
"We definitely had some bad days, but we also had some great days.
"The big thing for me though was the friendships I made throughout my time playing for Limerick.
"I made friends that I will carry with me through my whole life. Medals are one thing, but it's the memories and friendships that will last forever. There's a kinship which develops between players over time. And, I feel very priviledged to have played so long for Limerick."
Moran is determined to keep hurling with his club Ahane and suggests that he may try his hand at coaching: "I will definitely try to give it another few years with the club. Playing at any level is still a full-time job and that's all I'm in a position to concentrate on. But certainly coaching is something I would be interested in getting involved in. I think it is something I would enjoy."