Mental challenge hardest part: Henry
Henry Shefflin has spoken for the first time of his struggle to accept that his days as a Kilkenny hurler were ebbing to a close.
In exclusive extracts from his autobiography carried in today's Irish Independent, the most celebrated hurler of all time recounts the frustrations endured in not starting a single Championship game during his final season for the county.
As Shefflin's status in the Cats dressing-room declined last year, he admits "not making the first 15 became less of a problem in my own mind than simply not knowing where I stood. I felt communication could have been better."
Shefflin talks of having "fewer chats" with Brian Cody as the dynamic of their relationship altered fundamentally during their 16th season together in a Kilkenny dressing-room.
"The mental challenge became the hardest part for me in 2014" writes the record 10-time All-Ireland winner.
The Kilkenny legend also recounts how he came "within a millimetre" of losing an eye after an incident with Clare's Gerry Quinn in the 2004 All-Ireland quarter-final and tells how Quinn's subsequent apology left something to be desired.
And he offers a candid profile of Kilkenny's bitter rivalry with Cork and their response to being branded 'Stepford Wives'.