TJ: 'I was annoyed, I thought of retiring'
TJ Reid is Hurler of the Month for September and, barring some peculiar voting habits by his playing peers, the man who will be Hurler of the Year for 2015.
And yet, just over three years ago, the Kilkenny ace almost walked from it all.
Reid has confirmed the veracity of Henry Shefflin's recent autobiographical account that his fellow Ballyhale Shamrock was on the verge of quitting Brian Cody's panel after being axed for the 2012 quarter-final against Limerick.
"I don't like talking about it - I suppose that's the past," he reflected at yesterday's player of the month event.
"But I was frustrated ... I was being taken off and getting dropped here and there. As a player, as a young hurler, you just want to be hurling. I was getting annoyed about it.
"I suppose for that game against Limerick I was dropped and I was annoyed over it. I was thinking about retiring.
"I would be very good friends with Henry (Shefflin). He sat me down and spoke to me. So it was my choice then.
"I suppose what turned it was that I loved it so much and it would have been hard to walk away from it. I think it was a stepping stone for myself. I spoke to Brian about it as well. Maybe I opened up to Brian about how I felt about it. After that incident I went on, we won the All-Ireland and I got an All Star."
Looking back, Reid views the episode as critical to his evolution as a Kilkenny mainstay.
"Some players are maybe afraid to open up to Brian about how you feel about the set-up.
"I opened up and I think, after that, I'm after becoming a different player," he surmised.
He added: "At the start of the year I had three goals - if I can get my nutrition 100 per cent, my conditioning 100 per cent and my fitness 100 per cent, then everything else should look after itself.
"When you are going out onto the field knowing that you have everything done right, you should have no worries about on the field then."