10 reasons we will miss Henry Shefflin when he's gone

It looks like the Kilkenny legend’s career is drawing to a close.

IT SEEMS LIKE the end is nigh for Henry Shefflin’s inter-county days as it is expected that the Cats legend will announce his retirement from the game today at a press conference in Kilkenny.

Here are 10 reasons we will miss the man if he steps away.

1. Longevity

Henry Shefflin celebrates winning his 9th All Ireland Shefflin celebrated his ninth All-Ireland medal in 2012. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Henry Shefflin played in All-Ireland finals in the year of my first communion, my confirmation, my junior cert, my leaving cert and when I graduated from college. So, he has been around a long time. That sort of staying power in a county where many players can only stay on the team for two or three years, is insane.

2. He was the best player on the best team of all-time

Shefflin scored 2-26 across the four All-Ireland finals won by the great Kilkenny team from 2006-2009 (including 1-2 in the 2007 final when he injured his knee early on). Those Kilkenny teams probably had about 20 legendary players but nobody did more to win those titles than Henry Shefflin.

Source: smileyfacebecca/YouTube

3. Nobody who has ever played the game has scored more championship points

Shefflin has had this record for so long that it is easy to forget how special an accolade it is. The first hurling championship was played in 1887 and in its 127 years, no man has ever scored more points (27-484) in the championship. Not Christy Ring. Not Eddie Keher. No-one.

4. He makes big plays in big games

Any player who averages eight points per All-Ireland final can obviously deliver on the grandest stage but the manner in which Shefflin played on the big day is what sets him apart. He was at the heart of the shellacking given to Offaly in 2000 and twelve years later he was going toe-to-toe with Joe Canning in a titanic tussle.

Shefflin has an insatiable appetite for dominating the biggest days in hurling. Even last season, he rolled back the years to remind Canning to respect his elders.

Source: hockeyhurlingshinty5/YouTube

5. The 2009 final goal

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History beckoned and Shefflin didn’t blink. It even gave us this awkward interview when Brian Cody looked liked he wanted to loaf Marty Morrissey (2.20 in).

Source: kickzie/YouTube

6. His resolve to return from crippling injuries

Henry Shefflin shouts encouragement to his teammates from the sidelines 14/10/2007 Shefflin returned from two serious knee injuries. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

His All-Ireland final performances were exceptional even though two of them (2007 and 2010) were cut short with crippling knee injuries. But what added to Shefflin’s legend was how he dealt with those setbacks: an All-Ireland title in 2008 and an All-Ireland title in 2011.

7. He flies the flag for redheads everywhere

As a fully fledged member of the red hair club, all I can say is: you are welcome in our clubhouse any time, Henry.

8. He dances like a normal person

Source: Conor Ryan/YouTube

When you almost have an All-Ireland medal for every finger, you can afford to burst into a hearty jig now and again.

9. He combined skill and power in an exceptional way

As the best player on the pitch, Shefflin was always marked closely but he had the strength to take challenges and the skill to evade them.

Source: HurlingGoals/YouTube

10. He did it all with the game’s greatest manager

Brian Cody celebrates with Henry Shefflin Hurling's greatest ever player with the greatest ever manager. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

A version of this article was originally produced on 5 September, 2014

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