home Sports Henry Shefflin Announced as new Galway Boss

Henry Shefflin Announced as new Galway Boss

By Sam Curtin

 

One of the most unexpected appointments in GAA has been made the past week. 10-time All-Ireland medal winner Henry Shefflin has been named the new Galway hurling manager on a three term with a review after the second. 

The Ballyhale man came out of nowhere to get the job which was previously rumoured to be going to ex Wexford boss Davy Fitzgerald. When and how Shefflin came into contention still remains a mystery and credit must go to the county board for doing such a good job keeping it under wraps. This especially after coming under fire for taking a lengthy period of time in finding a successor to Shane O’Neil with former manager Mícheál O’Donoghue being one of the other rumoured candidates before pulling out of contention. 

Although Shefflin is a rookie manager at inter-county level, he has coached his native Ballyhale Shamrocks to consecutive club All-Ireland’s in 2018 and 2019 before stepping down. He then took the reigns at intermediate side Thomastown in 2020. He has also served as an analyst on RTÉ since his retirement from playing which has received positive reviews from viewers. Therefore, his hurling acumen is clear to see on sidelines as well as on the pitch.

And so to further this discussion, what can Shefflin bring to Galway as a big name yes, but a complete outsider to the county. Firstly, Shefflin is a modern manager who played in the modern game and knows the demands placed on inter-county players at present. Shefflin, of coursed played under one of the greatest managers of all time in Brian Cody and would surely have learned a thing or two about how to manage a team of star-studded players.

Of which, it would be fair to say, Galway are not at present. Star man Joe Canning has retired and the squad in general is older with many having soldiered in the years prior to winning Liam McCarthy in 2017. There is however, a lot of talent coming through with Galway having being perennial contenders and indeed winners at underage level and so talent shouldn’t be an issue. They are also regarded as the best team to take on Limerick physically as shown during the 2020 All- Ireland semi-final where they lost out by only a score.

Unlike 2020 however, Galway fell flat this year losing to a young Dublin team before exiting the championship at the hands of Waterford. This is despite their status as being one of the favourites and instead appeared tired and tactically devoid of any real game plan despite their promising league form. This would further suggest that a fresh approach is needed. Shefflin is a. an outsider and b. a proven winner who will be ruthless in terms of what players he wants and how he wants them to play.

Now to address the elephant in the room, Shefflin’s appointment provides us with a potentially great storyline between himself and Brian Cody when their sides face each other. It will be a clash between mentor and pupil, old and new. Hurling has never been short on drama, and this will only add to it especially if they face each other at the business end of the championship.

Overall, it provides us with another intriguing year of hurling ahead with many different plots. While success for the tribesmen may not come immediately, the future is exciting for the county and for ‘King Henry.’ Who Knows, if his tenure is successful, the top job may come calling once the master finally calls it a day. The pupil becomes the….. you know the rest.