HENRY SHEFFLIN will consider sitting out the early part of Kilkenny's 2013 campaign when he will bid for a record-breaking 10th All-Ireland medal.
The Ballyhale star missed the league campaigns of the last two seasons through injury but recovered to win All Stars and All-Ireland titles both years and he admits he'll have to consider all options available to him ahead of what will be his 15th championship season.
"The last few years it has been injuries that have dictated that (missing the league), but it's probably something the management will have a say in as well. A lot will depend on where you finish with your club and that. Late on in your career, you have to take all those things into consideration," said Shefflin, as Electric Ireland announced that they have become the GAA's official energy partner until 2016.
Shefflin's Ballyhale Shamrocks contest the Kilkenny championship final against Dicksboro at Nowlan Park on Sunday (2.30) and have already been installed as favourites to win the All-Ireland club title -- something that would mean Shefflin would be in club action until March.
Shefflin, who rounded off a tremendous recovery from a serious shoulder injury this year with an unprecedented 11th All Star and the Hurler of the Year award, expressed surprise that Tommy Walsh missed out on a 10th consecutive gong.
"Tommy was going for a record 10 All Stars in-a-row, but he had no issue running around the field in the semi-final and not hitting the ball. In the first All-Ireland final, he was brought into full-back and that kept Tommy away from the game again," said Shefflin.
"That's why we won the All-Ireland, more than anything else -- because of these type of players.
"Jackie Tyrrell and Tommy Walsh had brilliant years. Richie Hogan had a brilliant year, so they were probably unlucky.
"To be fair to Galway, they had some great individual performances as well during the year, so you couldn't take it from them either."
And while Shefflin denied that he would walk away should Brian Cody decide to end his reign, he admitted he and other senior members of the squad would find it strange to hurl for another Kilkenny manager.
"It would be very hard for someone like myself, Noel (Hickey), JJ (Delaney) or Tommy (Walsh) to go into the dressing room and Brian was not there," he admitted.
"We have all said that the reason why we have been so successful is because of Brian and the management team and the way they drove us.
"This year is a case in point. He could easily have stayed with the man-marking job he did for the All-ireland semi-final and final, but Brian decided to rip that up.
"In the drawn final, the lads did a great job in the second half in terms of man-marking and it looked like it was working. To rip that up and go back to our normal game was a big decision for him to take.
"I hope he is there for a long time."