As was widely anticipated, Henry Shefflin this afternoon confirmed his inter-county retirement after 16 illustrious years.
The 36-year-old revealed he made the decision last weekend days after winning his third All-Ireland club title with Ballyhale Shamrocks.
In front of a packed Set Theatre in Langtons Hote in Kilkenny city, Shefflin read out a statement. "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."
Shefflin thanked his wife Deirdre and his family. "Only they really know the many sacrifices they have made on my behalf."
He also acknowledged the contribution of Brian Cody to his career. "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."
He concluded: "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.
Chairman Ned Quinn, who sat beside Shefflin, praised the hurler, claiming his greatest performance was in the drawn All-Ireland final against Galway in 2012 when he brought Kilkenny from "the abyss of defeat".
The GPA paid their own tribute to Shefflin in a statement: "His enduring dedication, including overcoming two career-threatening injuries, has inspired a generation on and off the playing field. His untouchable legacy is unlikely ever to be eclipsed.
"A true role model for all aspiring athletes, Henry’s exceptional competitive zeal has always been underpinned by great sportsmanship and integrity. It is most fitting that, at 36 years of age, he was afforded the privilege of closing this chapter in his life as an All-Ireland champion with Ballyhale."
Shefflin said he will miss training the most and said his two hardest markers were JJ Delaney and Tommy Walsh.
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