Friday 2 December 2016

Vincent Hogan: Henry's enduring brilliance keeps a generation young

Published 29/09/2012 | 05:00

Ever get the feeling that life will always be better while Henry Shefflin is chasing rainbows? The day he retires is the day our world grows old. Lennox Lewis hasn't laced up gloves for a whole decade; Jose Maria Olazabal dresses in middle-age jumpers rather than chase bespoke tailoring in the Butler Cabin; Paul Gascoigne fights not to be a viable footballer, but a functioning human being.

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Yet Henry is still there, rolling with the punches, taking all the cheap shots fate can land. A generation has passed since he played in his first All-Ireland final and, if tomorrow represents his 13th, it won't make any concession to his age.

For Shefflin's career has been about a lot more than longevity. When Brian O'Driscoll spoke last week with such palpable admiration of the Kilkenny man's performance in the drawn final of September 9, he was reiterating the sense that here is a career that has begun to transcend its sport.

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