Wednesday 18 January 2017

Henry Shefflin on life after hurling and a possible TV career

Published 29/04/2015 | 02:30

Kilkenny hurling legend Henry Shefflin and Donegal footballer Karl Lacey,left, pictured with Alice Brannigan (8), left, and Hannah Brannigan (7), right, and twins Tadhg and Conor Scanlon (7) at the launch of Kellogg’s renewed sponsorship deal with GAA Cúl Camps
Kilkenny hurling legend Henry Shefflin and Donegal footballer Karl Lacey,left, pictured with Alice Brannigan (8), left, and Hannah Brannigan (7), right, and twins Tadhg and Conor Scanlon (7) at the launch of Kellogg’s renewed sponsorship deal with GAA Cúl Camps

More than a month on from his retirement announcement, Henry Shefflin is more convinced than ever that he has made the right decision.

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Shefflin has been given a break from club activity with Ballyhale Shamrocks and says he has adapted easily to life away from inter-county hurling.

"Every so often we'd mention it at home and the conversation was 'you were right to go, it was the right time'. That has popped up in conversation every so often. It was the right time," he says.

"I'm sure during the summer I'll think that when the big matches are on, 'Jesus, I'd love to be there.' But I don't think 'should I have stayed?' That's not in my mentality."

Not going training has been the hardest aspect of bringing his 16-year career with Kilkenny to an end.

"I enjoy the physical aspect, I always did, of going training. I still do. To be honest I like my food as well. My nutrition hasn't been the best in the last couple of weeks," he said.

Physical

"I enjoy that physical aspect of it so I think it will always be part of my being. You get so used to it that you feel you have to get to the gym, you have to get the exercise in. I'm still doing that but not to the same level or intensity.

"One evening last week I was out with the dog and I met TJ (Reid) who lives on the same road. He was heading in training. At that stage it kind of hits you. You're so used to doing it."

Shefflin revealed he has been approached by a number of print and broadcast media outlets to link up for coverage of the summer games and it's something he plans to do.

"I'm going to miss it (the games) so I'd like to be involved in it. Being part of the games, not just Kilkenny but the other games as well, will give me a good footprint into it," he said.

He admits he will find it difficult to provide analysis on players he has played with over such a long period of time.

"I would imagine the Kilkenny thing would be very difficult. It's analysis for me, that's what I would like to do," he said.

"I've been critical myself of my own performances. Lads have bad performances, that's the way it goes. It would be a bit difficult with Kilkenny, especially this year."

He didn't often take criticism personally, especially in the latter part of his career.

"At the beginning you take credence of it and then you realise that it's just one person's opinion," he said.

"You do try and block yourself away and I did become better at that as the years went on. Then I got to the stage where if someone was saying something, (I thought) there might be some merit in it."

Shefflin has backed his Ballyhale colleague Joey Holden to establish himself as Kilkenny's next full-back in the aftermath of JJ Delaney's departure.

Holden featured in the position in Saturday night's fundraising challenge against Cork, organised by the Friends of Jamie Wall.

"Joey as we say, has 'good stuff' in him in the sense he's a good lad and he applies himself very well," said Shefflin, who gives a tentative vote to Cork in Sunday's League final.

"He has a good head on his shoulders. I think to be full-back you have to have a good head on your shoulders, a bit of know-how about what's going on around, it's a specialised position.

"When Noel Hickey left it they said 'who is going to fill his shoes?' It took JJ a bit of time to get used to it. Now that JJ's gone the question is who is going to fill it?'

"If someone is given the opportunity and given the bit of time, he can grow into that role - and Joey is someone who definitely fits that bill."

Shefflin and Karl Lacey were speaking at the launch of the Kellogs Cul camps in Croke Park yesterday which are expected to attract 90,000 children this summer.

Irish Independent

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