Waterford hurling manager Derek McGrath has confirmed that Shane Bennett has turned down the opportunity to rejoin the senior panel.
Bennett opted to take a break from the squad ahead of the 2018 but McGrath had hoped to convince him return to the fold.
An All-Ireland minor and U21 winner with the county, Bennett joined the senior setup straight out of minor ranks in 2015, the year when he sat his Leaving Cert and has a lot of hurling miles on his clock since then.
However despite speaking to him a number of times McGrath has revealed that the 21-year-old has turned down his invitation.
“I’ve been unable to persuade him to come back,” McGrath told the Irish Independent at the launch of the All Ireland Golf challenge.
“It looks like there’s no go for Shane in terms of coming back. We’ve tried very hard now in terms of conversations with him. He’s a very important player for us but he’s absolutely entitled not to commit to it. We have to have respect to that.
“We have a very tight group. A lot of the lads will be asking about Shane but I think it’s important to move forward now and it’s not as if we don’t have an open-ended panel, but we’ll just move forward now and see where we go in the championship and we wish Shane well. He’s a great lad.”
“Over the four years we’ve espoused the whole value of living. Tom Devine came to us at the end of the league last year and said he was going travelling for the summer.
“I’m not sure if Shane is definitely going travelling or not, but I’m sure there are alternatives there in terms of what he wants to do. He’s a great lad and we wish him well. I think it’s important to move forward now and it’s not as if we don’t have an open-ended panel.”