Henry Shefflin has revealed it was Brian Cody who encouraged him to successfully contest his red card against Cork in 2013.
The 36-year-old had never been sent off at senior level for county nor club until he picked up a second yellow card in the first half of that year's All-Ireland quarter-final in Thurles.
Shefflin brought his case to the Central Hearings Committee where the first yellow card was dismissed and therefore the sending off was rescinded. Cody convinced him to contest Barry Kelly's decision on the premise a second double yellow card offence the following season would have seen him suspended for a game.
At his inter-county retirement announcement yesterday, he said he was delighted to step away having never been sent off during his entire career with Kilkenny. "Brian was the one who wanted me to do that," he confirmed. "He was probably thinking ahead to the following year if I happened to get a (double) yellow card again.
"It was important because I’d only been sent off in one game before - a minor club championship south final, which I still feel very bad about to this day. The lads last week were still slagging me about in the club celebrations last week. It is, I suppose, important to me - I knew I didn’t do that much wrong (v Cork)."
Shefflin's mind was made up when he sat down with his wife Deirdre to watch Kilkenny's win over Clare on TV on Sunday. "It wasn't anything about the game itself. I think it's just the realisation had came.
I'd met Brian on Friday. Saturday I was becoming more comfortable with it, I was thinking this is the right thing. Come Sunday then, even though I hadn't, I was just looking at the match and seeing Kevin Kelly and some of the newer players Jonjo Farrell, and I was saying, I remember when I started.
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"I think it's time for myself. I just felt it was the correct time. My heart was saying I'd love to go back but I think my head had come to terms that now was the correct time. It wasn't anything specifically, it was just that I was looking in as a supporter more as 'that's my team, I'm going back to it'."
Shefflin has had two operations on his knees as well as his left foot and major surgery on his shoulder but he insists he's in fine physical shape. "I wouldn't have aches and pains getting out of bed. I'm in very good shape, to be honest. I got a little knock on my shoulder before the All-Ireland (club final), which set me back a little but physically wise I'm in very good shape.
"You would be afraid some of the old injuries would come back to haunt you. The thing at my age is you're so susceptible to getting some of those injuries but otherwise I'm in good shape. Physically wise and fitness wise, I've had a very good run of training. I'm very happy in that space."
Shefflin didn't rule out a move to management in the future. "I very much want to continue hurling with Ballyhale and give something back to the club for the time being."
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