Henry Shefflin tonight resigned as manager of Ballyhale Shamrocks.
Just days after leading the club to an eighth All-Ireland title, he informed a player meeting of his plans, citing family and work commitments.
Even in the context of the Shamrocks’ glittering history, Shefflin’s tenure delivered unprecedented success.
He accepted a two-year term in late 2017 and this term was up. The departure of Tommy Shefflin, his older brother and the panel’s physical trainer, had already been flagged.
He is taking on the same role with Kilkenny’s senior camogie panel under Brian Dowling’s management. The other two selectors, Richie O’Neil and Patrick Phelan, stepped down in tandem.
Henry Shefflin earned 10 Celtic Crosses, 11 All-Stars and three Hurler of the Year awards during a 16-season career with Kilkenny. He began in management as hurling’s most decorated player.
His resignation comes with Ballyhale Shamrocks in a tremendous position. Meticulous leadership established a winning streak of 17 championship games on the trot.
This run includes 2018’s senior final victory against Bennettsbridge, which was augmented by All-Ireland final victory over St Thomas’.
The following campaign saw retention of both titles, with James Stephen defeated in the senior final and Borris-Ileigh overcome in last weekend’s All-Ireland final.
“It’s an awful pity Henry is going,” former Ballyhale Shamrocks chairman Michael Hoyne said. “But good luck to him. He has done a magnificent job altogether.”
Still an influential figure in the club, Hoyne saluted Shefflin’s achievements: “He was a great servant as a player, and then he became a great servant as a manager.
“He took on the job when we were there or thereabouts for a couple of years but couldn’t quite get over the line. Henry just gave things the push that was needed.
“I remember seeing him as an U14, over in the field, tearing around. Henry always stood out. Some people were saying that maybe he was a bit slow, but I never thought so. He did look, even then, what he did become. The massive talent was always there.
He hurled brilliant with Kilkenny, from the start. When the club got going again, in 2006, at winning county titles, Henry led there as well. There weren’t many games in which he wasn’t the biggest influence.
Such warmth and appreciation speaks for the whole parish.
“There’ll only ever be one Henry Shefflin,” Hoyne concluded. “We have the luxury at the moment of listening to this media debate about whether himself or TJ [Reid] is the better hurler. It’s hard to say. But no one, I think, will ever match Henry’s record of All-Irelands and All-Stars. He’s out on his own, and will probably stay there.”