Saturday 16 December 2017

Lyng backing King Henry to make majestic entrance at HQ

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

FORMER Kilkenny star Derek Lyng believes Henry Shefflin is ready for a big performance on his return to Croke Park this weekend.

Shefflin makes his first appearance at HQ in Sunday's Leinster final clash with Dublin since he was forced off in last year's All-Ireland final defeat to Tipperary with a knee injury

Lyng believes the 70 minutes he played against Wexford in the Leinster semi-final will have primed the Ballyhale Shamrocks star.

"You don't get any more mentally tough than Henry, he's done it before," said six-time All-Ireland winner Lyng.

"I was down in Wexford Park looking at him, I thought his movement a few times was really good.

"The first game was obviously going to be really hard for him because mentally more than anything you just need to get that 70 minutes over and be able to walk off the pitch.

"He scored a few points from play, put over a few frees and set up a few things. I was happy with him.

"The last few weeks have been a great help for him, a couple of hard weeks training as well. There'll be no holding back on Henry on Sunday.

"You can't expect fireworks straight away but I think he'll be a lot more comfortable in himself after that (Wexford) game and after the few weeks of training -- mentally more than anything it'll be a help to him."

Lyng retired last winter due to an ongoing hip problem but believes the recent criticisms of Kilkenny -- who have lost the last three finals they have played in (All-Ireland, National League and Walsh Cup) -- can give the Cats extra motivation.

"Sometimes it can galvanise a team when you get a bit of criticism and Kilkenny would have got a bit of that after the league final, from inside and outside the county. Hopefully it's galvanised them. I think they have a good bit of work done since then," he said.

"People in Kilkenny are a little bit wary (of Dublin). Before, a lot of people in Kilkenny would have been saying, 'we'll win that'.

"To get to an All-Ireland semi-final would have been taken for granted -- players don't do that but people around you tend to do it. This time there's probably a bit more.

"People are still optimistic but you would have to be a little bit worried. They're definitely not taking it for granted.

"It feels like a long time ago that the league final was on. Tactics wise and players and everything else you'd know a lot more about Dublin after playing them three times this year already.

"I think they know each other fairly well at this stage and when it gets to this week all you can do is kind of take care of yourself."

Irish Independent

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