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Shefflin has credentials for county job - Holden


Kilkenny hurler Joey Holden. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie

Kilkenny hurler Joey Holden. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie

©INPHO/James Crombie

Kilkenny hurler Joey Holden. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie

Kilkenny's Joey Holden doesn't know if it's an inevitability that Henry Shefflin will take charge of the Cats one day but he has no doubt that he has all the qualities to make a top inter-county manager.

Former All-Star Holden played with Shefflin for both club and county and then worked under the ten-time All-Ireland winner when he was in charge of Ballyhale for the past two seasons.

And Shefflin showed that his magic touch works on both sides of the white line as he guided the famous Kilkenny club to back-to-back All-Ireland club titles for their first time in their history.

"It's hard to know what he will do, maybe he doesn't have aspirations to do that, I'd imagine he does the way he took to the Ballyhale manager job," Holden said, at the launch of Avonmore Protein Gold, a chocolate-flavoured milk drink.

"The question you always get asked is will he take over from Brian? And who knows? All I can comment on is would he have the attributes to be an inter-county manager. I'd say, definitely.

"The level of detail he went into with Ballyhale, the way he conducted the whole thing and says the right things at the right times, he certainly has the attributes for it but it is a hard one to call what way it will go."

Shefflin stepped down last month after a stunning debut in management with Waterford native James O'Connor, who helped Cork outfit Fr O'Neill's to an All-Ireland club intermediate final earlier this year, set to take his place.

"It was a surprise (that Shefflin stepped down) in that no one had even thought about the following year… I suppose when Henry took over he would have said two or three years but having said that he probably didn't think the first two years would have been so full on.

"And Henry is the type of character who would be all in or not at all, he's very prepared and threw everything at it and when he explained his reasons I don't think anyone could've any questions.

"He has five young kids, he just wants to take a summer, spend time with them and really enjoy his family time."

Holden was back training with Kilkenny a fortnight after their All-Ireland win but is still working his way back into the side and, along with the rest of the Ballyhale and Tullaroan contingents, doesn't expect to feature this weekend.

"We won't be playing this weekend no, they'll still be trying out all the lads; we are building back up. I suppose the Tullaroan and Ballyhale lads are building back up to the level of the other lads because they have more pre-season behind (them). The club training was a different type of training, sharp stuff, speed stuff, not long training where at this time of year it is building up that aerobic capacity."

Campaigns With successful club campaigns coming hard on the back of the inter-county season, Holden has scarcely had a break but he insists fatigue isn't an issue.

"I'd be the kind of character that I'd always be active, the thing I find difficult sometimes after a tough match you have to go back to work. You are amateur players and the work thing has to be your focus as well so that can be tough but with the teaching you have breaks at the right times of the year so you can use that to recuperate or maybe if you have a night off training go away somewhere just for a break.

"If you manage it the right way you are not too bad. Brian is great that way, if you are feeling a bit fatigued and the backroom staff, just let them know and they will put the proper procedures in place to make sure you are performing at your best."

Irish Independent