Henry Shefflin: 'Do I still think the sliotar is travelling too far? Yes, I do'

Referring to the Ned Quinn-led committee that has been set up to look at the sliotar, the Kilkenny great looks forward to seeing the body’s conclusions.
Henry Shefflin: 'Do I still think the sliotar is travelling too far? Yes, I do'

Former Kilkenny hurler Henry Shefflin in attendance at the launch of PwC's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the All-Stars. Picture: Sam Barnes

Henry Shefflin maintains the sliotar is travelling too far but agrees with Joe Canning’s assessment that there has been unwarranted negativity about hurling.

Referring to the Ned Quinn-led committee that has been set up to look at the sliotar, the Kilkenny great looks forward to seeing the body’s conclusions.

However, he does feel Canning’s remarks about the criticism of the game were correct. “To be honest, I think he’s right. There was a lot of negativity at the beginning of the league but I think that has improved as we expected, to be honest.

“I was one who said, ‘Look, let’s give it time and see how it is’, and I think the fare has got better and better.

“I think the valid argument of the crowds coming back in will help the situation.

“Do I still think the sliotar is travelling too far? Yes, I do. Do I think they should look at it later on in the year? I probably do, and they are. The advisory committee is set up. And I do take the point that there were (high) scores previously, but that was just there wasn’t as prevalent, to be honest.

“The balls definitely seem to be travelling further, whether that’s the players and the conditioning, stuff like that.

But I think having the scores as high as some of the scores can be is probably not the spectacle we would like to see. But I would expect the players, of course they would say that it’s fine.

Shefflin was in his playing prime when Cork were favouring the smaller rim Cummins sliotar while his Kilkenny team preferred the O’Neills ball.

“The rim on some of the Cummins and O’Neill’s were different and you didn’t know what you were getting.

“And as well as that, there weren’t as many hurling balls around. I know this might sound very strange. But that was it.

“I’m not scientific enough about it but obviously if the ball is after wearing down a bit, it mightn’t travel if the leather is after having a wet night in training somewhere, where it’s a little bit expanded, it probably won’t travel as far. So it was all those kinds of things, but now everything is a new ball everywhere you go.”

Not that Brian Cody will add it to his collection of titles but Kilkenny did what was asked of them topping Division 1, Group B. Pre-season talk about him being under pressure was idle, insists Shefflin.

“I have heard that commentary since and people pointing out to say look at his record over the last couple of years, he has won the National League, the Leinster title, with a team that a lot of people would say shouldn’t be competing at that level.

“So there is no doubt about it, he is the right man there, and it’s been very positive again.

“I don’t know how that is going to go into his CV, joint league holders but I think we will actually see league winners this year.

“I think we might see Kilkenny and Galway again, and it will be good to have one name behind it.”

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