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'My manager was Brian Cody so there were never any issues of player discontent'

Henry Shefflin says the current Galway management crisis caught him by surprise.

Shefflin was speaking at Croke Park on Monday as part of the Centra Live Well hurling event.
Shefflin was speaking at Croke Park on Monday as part of the Centra Live Well hurling event.
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

AS A RESOLUTION in the stand-off between Galway players and management shows no sign of arriving, Henry Shefflin admits the ongoing saga caught him by surprise.

Galway hurling was thrown into chaos at the start of the month after the senior squad backed a vote of no confidence in manager Anthony Cunningham – just weeks after he led the team to a second All-Ireland final in four years.

The players decided unanimously that a new manager was needed following their defeat to Kilkenny at Croke Park and Cunningham was then informed of their position.

After Galway chiefs reappointed Cunningham as senior manager two days later, both parties have since been locked in meetings in an attempt to find a middle ground and resolve the issue.

Shefflin acknowledges the situation is unusual but believes the players must be happy with whatever decision is reached in order to move forward in the right direction.

“As an outsider looking in, they had a very good year,” the former Kilkenny forward said. “They brought on new players, there was a lot of depth in their squad and everything seemed to be going very well for them.

“At half-time in the All-Ireland final, to say we would be talking about this now is crazy. The players didn’t perform in that second-half but I don’t think it’s that. There was stuff going on in the background that they weren’t happy about.

“I’m surprised to see it, to be honest.”

Former Galway manager John McIntyre claims there was unrest in the dressing room for some time and it all came to a head when the Tribesmen lost heavily to Waterford in the Allianz League quarter-final last March.

As the Tribsemen’s championship campaign progressed encouragingly, the players’ grievances alleviated but last month’s reversal at Croke Park was the catalyst for the revolt.

Anthony Cunningham Anthony Cunningham's Galway future remains uncertain. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“I’ve spoken to various different players over the years about stuff they weren’t happy with,” Shefflin continues. “I’d ask them what was the issue and it could have been small things that may seem trivial but could actually be the difference.”

Having experienced sustained success throughout his inter-county career under the management of Brian Cody, Shefflin concedes he’s never experienced player discontent.

“Being from Kilkenny with a manager like Brian Cody, I haven’t experienced any issues like that. We are from a county where Brian, the greatest manager of all time, has been there and we haven’t had any experiences where we’d like to have say because we’ve been so happy with the decisions.

“But some places, the senior players might have an input – it’s about finding that balance and it’s a hard one to call. The county board play a massive, massive part and of course the players have to be happy.

“My manager was called Brian Cody, so there were never any issues like that.”

Over 650 children travelled to Croke Park today for a very special day out as part of Centra’s Live Well initiative. Young hurlers from 16 different clubs had the once in a lifetime chance to experience the ultimate behind the scenes day out with many of their hurling idols including Henry Shefflin, Seamus Hickey, and Pat Donnellan. Through their partnership with the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Centra has been encouraging children all over Ireland to live healthier lives encouraging them to be active and educating them on nutrition. For more information see www.centra.ie  

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Ryan Bailey

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