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King Henry to carry flame across roof of Hogan Stand

FEW can hold a candle to him as a hurler and Henry Shefflin has now been chosen to carry the most famous flame in world sport: the Olympic torch.

The Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) have asked several sporting organisations to nominate a torchbearer when the famous torch relay comes to this island on June 6.

And the GAA have selected the Kilkenny legend for the the job.

The association has already bagged the first and most spectacular leg of the relay because the torch's tour of Dublin is starting at Croke Park, where it will be walked across the roof of the Hogan Stand.

Mr Shefflin, who is currently recovering from a shoulder injury, will now fulfil that prestigious role.

He is the most decorated hurler of this era, winning eight All-Ireland senior medals and 10 Allstars and has started every one of Kilkenny's championship games since 1999, despite suffering two serious cruciate knee injuries.

Olympic boxing medallists Wayne McCullough and Michael Carruth will be involved when the Olympic flame is handed across the border at Omagh on June 6.

It will then be transported to Dublin by car.

After Mr Shefflin carries the torch across the Hogan Stand, it will then spend another 30 minutes in Croke Park before being carried on a two-hour tour of central Dublin before being driven back to Omagh.

Forty people will carry the torch around Dublin. International Olympic sponsors get to pick 18 of them but the OCI is responsible for the remaining 22 and the deadline for nominations was last Friday.

The OCI are not releasing the names of the torchbearers until mid-April but they confirmed Mr Shefflin's participation yesterday, saying he was the GAA's first choice.

"We immediately agreed because Henry is a perfect representative, not only an iconic Irish sportsman but a wonderful role model," an OCI spokesman said.

Irish Independent