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'It was a tight ship, we had to keep it that way' - Galway chief on quiet Shefflin appointment

The Kilkenny legend was confirmed as the new hurling boss last night.

Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

GALWAY CHAIRMAN PAT Kearney says the county is thrilled to welcome Henry Shefflin as their new hurling manager and insists that they had to keep a “tight ship” in order to protect the secrecy of the appointment.

The Kilkenny legend was confirmed as the new Galway boss last night, replacing Shane O’Neill who stepped away in September. It was an announcement which shocked many as it was widely reported that Davy Fitzgerald would be taking over the Tribesmen.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1′s Morning Ireland, Kearney said that the 10-time All-Ireland winner will be an excellent addition to the county hurling set-up.

“It’s a great acquisition for Galway,” he began.

“It’s an outstanding and positive appointment and we’re delighted. Henry is up for the challenge.

“He has an unrivalled career in hurling and in management he led Ballyhale to club All-Irelands in 2019 and 2020. He brings enthusiasm, vision and values.

“We have young players coming in off the five minor All-Irelands. Added to the core of players that is there they should be focused, dedicated and motivated by Henry.

“His very presence in the dressing room has to inspire younger hurlers and that’s the aim.”

This will be Shefflin’s first managerial position at inter-county level, having previously enjoyed plenty of success at the helm of his club Ballyhale Shamrocks. He guided the local side to two Kilkenny, two Leinster and two All-Ireland crowns, in a spell between 2017 and 2019.

“Everybody has to start somewhere and Henry is starting with a base,” Kearney added.

“He has his values, he has his experience, presence, his motivation, and he’s up for the challenge.”

Remarking on the speculation surrounding Clare legend Fitzgerald, Kearney said that they did speak to him about the possibility of filling the vacancy. However, it was just the seven members of the management selection committee who were aware that Shefflin was in pole position to secure the job.

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“It’s the media’s job to speculate but there was one pillar missing and that was the facts,” says Kearney.

“It was a tight ship, we had to keep it that way. There was a lot of commentary on the issue. They [appointment committee] were focused on the job and they got their man.”

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