Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Cats Call

'I think it will be a big mistake if Brian Cody starts Henry Shefflin'

Should Kilkenny start King Henry against Tipperary?

HE’S THE MOST celebrated hurler in their ranks but that doesn’t guarantee that Henry Shefflin will be handed a starting jersey in the Kilkenny team for next Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling final.

Injuries have hindered Shefflin’s 2014 campaign and he came on as a substitute in their last two games against Dublin and Limerick.

Richie Stakelum was a selector on that Dublin team who conceded 0-3 to Shefflin when he was brought on during the Leinster final.

And Stakelum, the Tipperary 1987 Munster title winning captain, believes Kilkenny should resist the temptation to parachute Shefflin into their starting line-up.

“I think it will be a big mistake of Brian Cody starts Henry Shefflin. I think Henry Shefflin coming on as a sub will always attract attention. It might not be that he gets a lot of ball when he comes on but he is going to attract a lot of attention.

“Similarly when he came on against Limerick, it’s no surprise that Richie Power found a lot of space because people probably took an extra step towards Henry. Right now in his career, I think he can have a huge role coming off the bench. I’m not going to second guess Brian Cody but I’d be very surprised if he starts Henry Shefflin.”

Richie Hogan celebrates scoring the first goal of the game Richie Hogan celebrates his recent goal against Limerick. Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

Stakelum agrees that there has been growing evidence this year that other Kilkenny players are stepping into the breach to provide leadership. Richie Hogan, TJ Reid and Colin Fennelly have been outstanding this year.

“These players have to stand up to it then. Richie Hogan is having a brilliant year and to me the All-Ireland final will dictate the player of the year. It will be either Richie Hogan if Kilkenny win or Seamus Callanan if Tipperary win.

“Kilkenny have coped without him and Henry can’t go on forever. He is mortal. And if he starts I would find it hard to see him finishing. Henry coming off is a massive lift to the opposition but Henry coming on is a huge lift for Kilkenny. I would be very surprised if Brian Cody starts Henry.”

Martin Comerford with Richie Stakelum and John Leahy Richie Stakelum (centre) at the recent launch of the Kilmacud Crokes Hurling Sevens. Morgan Treacy / INPHO Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

This article was originally published at 8.35, then updated at 12.28.

Snapshot: Semi-final heartbreak for Dublin’s Alan Brogan

Holders Midleton knocked out of Cork County Championship by Douglas

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.