Bring on Shefflin: Sheedy
Tipperary boss hopes to see Kilkenny star grace hurling’s biggest stage
Tipperary hurling manager Liam Sheedy has expressed the wish that Henry Shefflin will play in next week's All-Ireland hurling final.
Sheedy believes it would be "good for hurling" -- if not necessarily for Tipperary -- if Kilkenny forward Shefflin, arguably the game's greatest player, makes it in 11 days' time.
Barring a miracle, it seems certain that the cruciate ligament victim will be forced to sit out his county's last hurdle to their bid for an unprecedented five-in-a-row.
Kilkenny manager Brian Cody has set a deadline of this weekend for all his players to make it clear that they are fit enough to play in an All-Ireland final.
Across the border in Tipperary, Sheedy feels it is important that all players are available for the game's biggest day.
"We've loads to focus on here in our own county. I guess, from a hurler's point of view, the All-Ireland final day really needs to see the best players," Sheedy admitted.
"We had a similar scenario last year with Eoin (Kelly) coming up to the final -- would he make it, would he not make it -- and I think, when you get to the big stage, you want every player to be available. So, definitely, from our point of view, if Henry makes it, it's good for hurling.
"You've got to measure yourself against the best. Not that it makes a big impact, because there's huge strength in depth in their panel.
"On All-Ireland final day, the ideal scenario for both counties will be that everybody is available for selection.
"We've had our own misfortunes as well. James (Woodlock) and Pat (Kerwick) played a big part in the final last year and they haven't played any part at all this year. This year the strength of the pack is really what it comes down to. Thankfully, I think our panel has responded in the best possible way."
Kelly has suffered no ill effects from the back injury sustained in the gym that disrupted his preparations for the All-Ireland semi-final win over Waterford.
"We probably haven't done a whole pile of work on it since, with the U-21 match at the weekend, so this will be a big training week ahead.
"He definitely feels it's a lot stronger. He had a tough preparation for the semi-final, but if his back is twinging and he gets another 2-1, it's alright with me," smiled Sheedy.