Published 29/04/2015 | 00:00
Funny how things work out. You spend a career setting new standards of excellence at wing-back and your most famous performance ends up being given at full-forward. Suffering from flu and struggling in the early stages of the 1998 All-Ireland hurling final against Kilkenny, Whelahan was switched there, a move apparently born out of desperation.
But while talent does what it can, genius does what it will and Whelehan took Kilkenny apart, scoring 1-6 as Offaly became the first back-door team to win the Liam MacCarthy Cup. He probably would have been one of the great full-forwards if he'd put his mind to it because his consistent excellence gave the impression of a hurler who could play anywhere. Whelehan was the shining star of the swashbuckling Offaly team of the 90s who didn't just win two All-Irelands, but were the most entertaining team of the decade.