A fitting finale to a remarkable career

NewsBy Sean McGoldrick
Legend: Henry Shefflin
Legend: Henry Shefflin

Henry Shefflin finally decided to bring the curtain down on his remarkable inter county hurling career while watching last Sunday's Kilkenny v Clare League tie on the television in the company of his wife Deirdre.

He met Kilkenny boss Brian Cody at the end of last week who told him that he was welcome back to rejoin the Kilkenny squad at any time.

They talked over tea and scones in Cody's house but the manager left the decision to the player himself.

'The more I thought about it, the more I felt the time was right (to retire)', said Shefflin who indicated that he would continue to play for his club Ballyhale Shamrocks.

Shefflin indicated that his performance in the drawn All-Ireland final against Galway in 2012 was the highlight of his career.

'In terms of hurling to be able to play at my best in the biggest game of the year when the pressure was greatest was the highlight of my career,' said Shefflin, who also nominated winning his first All-Ireland medal in 1999 and captaining Kilkenny to their Liam MacCarthy win as the other major highlights of his career.

Kilkenny County board chairman Ned Quinn said 'we will never see the likes of him again.'

Reeling off his career statistics he reminded the audience that Shefflin had missed out on two League medals due to injury.

In fact, he had overcome four career threatening injuries including two cruciate knee ligament reconstructions in order to continue his career.

Apart from the media the press conference was attended by a sizeable number of the general public who gathered in the balcony overlooking the theatre in Langton's for the announcement.

A fitting finale to a remarkable career.

He earlier released a statement thanking the people with 'deep gratitude' who helped him throughout his career. 

His statement is as follows: 

"It is with a deep sense of gratitude and personal contentment that I am announcing today that I am bringing to an end my inter-county playing career with the Kilkenny Senior Hurling Team.
When I reflect back over the past 16 years playing the game that I love, at the highest level with Kilkenny, it is impossible to quantify the endless hours of happiness, satisfaction and fulfilment I have enjoyed. The various challenges I experienced along the way became opportunities for me to develop as a person both on and off the field of play.
I will always be eternally grateful to the numerous people who have encouraged and supported me in my pursuit of my sporting dreams.
To my wife Deirdre, my parents, brothers and sisters I owe a huge debt of gratitude. Only they really know the many sacrifices they have made on my behalf.
My club mentors in Ballyhale Shamrocks and my former teachers instilled in me not only a love of hurling but also the importance of developing the skills of the game.
Brian Cody has been part of my senior inter-county career from the beginning and I benefitted greatly from his guidance and support. I thank him and his management teams for the huge role they have played in the success I have enjoyed.
I am grateful to Ned Quinn and the Kilkenny County Board for their leadership and especially for all they have done for me over the years. I wish to thank the GPA for all they do on behalf of myself and inter-county players.
Sincere thanks also to my employer Bank of Ireland for facilitating me in every way possible during my career.
The support I have received from Kilkenny supporters and from the GAA family all over Ireland in good times and in challenging times has been a humbling experience and made me realise how lucky and privileged I am.
Hurling is and always will be part of who I am. I now look forward to continue to play with my club Ballyhale Shamrocks and supporting Kilkenny Hurling teams for many years to come."
King Henry's Roll of Honour
10 All-Ireland Senior Medals (2000-02-03-06-07-08-09-011-12-14
13 Leinster Senior Medals (1999-2000-01-02-03-05-06-07-08-09-10-11-14)
6 National Hurling League Medals (2002-03-05-09-12-14)
3 All-Ireland Club Medals (2007-10-15)
4 Leinster Club Medals (2006-08-09-14)
11 All Star awards (2000-02-03-04-05-06-07-08-09-11-12)
3 Hurler of the Year awards (2002-06-12)