Brian Whelahan is both surprised and saddened by how far Offaly hurling has fallen since he wore the tricolour jersey.
The Birr legend will be inducted into the Leinster GAA Hall of Fame tomorrow in O'Moore Park when Offaly take on neighbours Galway for a place in the Leinster SHC final. The Tribesmen are expected to win handsomely, but it was a different story when the sides met in the 1994 All-Ireland semi-final, which the Faithful County won by six points before going on to lift the Liam MacCarthy Cup courtesy of a famous comeback win over Limerick.
"After '94, we didn't play Galway in championship again until 2010 - that's 16 years. And in those years, there mightn't have been a whole lot between the two counties," he noted in the Irish Independent.
"But yeah, the last few meetings have gone to Galway, and the most recent ones have gone quite considerably to Galway. There is no doubting the situation where Offaly find themselves.
"We have fallen away from the top couple of tiers of hurling, and we find ourselves in a situation whereby even competing with the top teams now is very tough. I don't think anyone in '94 would have envisaged us going back as far as we have."
He added: "To be fair, the lads are working very hard," says Whelahan. "People in Offaly are just hopeful we can put up a performance and be competitive, and stay in the game for as long as we can."