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Analysis: How good was Henry Shefflin's iconic display in the 2012 All-Ireland hurling final?

‘King’ Henry shot 12 points against Galway in the drawn September decider three years ago but he did so much more.

Henry Shefflin salutes his second half point from play.
Henry Shefflin salutes his second half point from play.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

THE GREAT MAN himself has pinpointed his performance against Galway in the drawn 2012 All-Ireland senior hurling final as the highlight of his career.

Henry Shefflin scored 0-12 for Kilkenny against the Tribesmen in a breath-taking encounter, a haul made up of ten frees, a point from a penalty and one from play.

There was so much to admire about his individual exploits but just how good was the Ballyhale Shamrocks wizard on the day?

Here’s a blow-by-blow account of Shefflin’s contribution on that September Sunday, as the ten-time All-Ireland senior medallist had a big role to play in one of the finest games of recent years.

Henry Shefflin Henry Shefflin and Kilkenny just minutes before throw-in. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

First half

2nd minute: Shefflin’s first possession sees him dispossessed by Galway’s Iarla Tannian.

4: Kilkenny boss Brian Cody had pitched Shefflin in on top of Galway defender Fergal Moore, in an attempt to exploit a height advantage. Shefflin’s aerial ability allows him to execute a clean catch before he’s fouled by Moore for a Kilkenny free. Shefflin converts for the opening point of the game.

6: Shefflin’s selflessness is evident as he’s seen foraging between the two 65m lines, doing the simple stuff well as neatly flicks the ball back for Paul Murphy.

Henry Shefflin Shefflin in the thick of the action. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

7: Shefflin is off-target with a 65.

16: Shefflin goes for goal from a 20m free but it’s diverted wide by the Galway backs. Shefflin fails to convert the resultant 65. 

30: Shefflin wins possession and fires in a lovely ball that allows Eoin Larkin to fire over a badly-needed Kilkenny score. They trail by 0-4 to 1-7.

33: A crucial Shefflin free from a tight angle on the Hogan Stand side of the field keeps Kilkenny in touch. They’re 0-5 to 1-8 adrift approaching half-time.

34: Richie Hogan wins a Kilkenny free and after referee Barry Kelly brings the ball forward, Shefflin does the rest. Kilkenny are now 0-6 to 1-8 behind.

35+1: In first half stoppage time, another Shefflin free brings Kilkenny a little closer. They’re now just four points behind, 0-7 to 1-8.

Half-time score: Galway 1-9 Kilkenny 0-7.

First half summary: Four pointed frees for Shefflin in the first half and an assist for Larkin’s point. He’s missed a couple of 65s, however, and was kept out from that 20m free.

Second half

36: Shefflin sets the tone for the second half, angling a lovely ball to Richie Power, who’s fouled for a Kilkenny free. Shefflin puts the ball over the bar and Kilkenny trail by 0-8 to 1-9.

46: Power wins another Kilkenny free and Shefflin obliges from the placed ball. The Cats still have work to do, however, as they’re 0-11 to 1-0 adrift.

46: Shefflin’s desire is evident as he goes in hard on Fergal Moore. The Galway man falls to the deck and Shefflin indicates to referee Kelly that he feels it was a dive. 

51: Shefflin wins a brilliant ball over the head of Kevin Hynes and drills over a Kilkenny equaliser for his seventh point – 0-13 to 1-10.

54: Shefflin points a monster free from inside his own half to nudge Kilkenny in front, 0-14 to 1-10.

57: Kilkenny have been rocked by a second Galway goal, scored by Niall Burke, but Shefflin’s free hauls Kilkenny back to within a point – 0-15 to 2-10. 

Barry Kelly attempts to separate Andy Smith and Henry Shefflin Referee Barry Kelly attempts to separate Shefflin and Galway's Andy Smith. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

59: A moment of Shefflin brilliance almost leads to a Kilkenny goal. Monitoring a high ball, Shefflin flicks it down to himself before transferring to Colin Fennelly. The corner forward’s powerful shot is brilliantly saved by James Skehill, who is penalised for lying on the sliotar. Shefflin opts for the point from the 20m free and the sides are level again – 0-16 to 2-10.

64: With the game in the balance, Shefflin produces a magnificent catch from David Herity’s puckout but Galway turn him over and win a free seconds later.

David Burke and Henry Shefflin Shefflin's workrate is evident as he hunts down Galway's David Burke. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

66: Another huge Shefflin free, again from inside his own half, levels matters again – 0-18 to 2-12.

67: Kilkenny are awarded a penalty after Skehill takes down Eoin Larkin inside the Galway parallelogram. All eyes are on Shefflin as he steps up to take it but he opts for a point to edge Kilkenny 0-19 to 2-12 in front.

70+1: Shefflin has the chance to put Kilkenny two points clear but drags a long-range effort wide.

70+2: Another chance for Shefflin as he collects another Herity puckout but his attempted point falls short and Skehill clears.

Full-time: Galway 2-13 Kilkenny 0-19

Second half summary: Shefflin was much more involved in the second half, banging over key scores and working desperately hard for the cause. After contributing four points before half-time, he adds eight more in the second half. There were a couple of missed chances while Shefflin opted for the safe point option with that late penalty.

Barry Kelly shakes hands with Henry Shefflin Henry Shefflin shakes hands with referee Barry Kelly after the game. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

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