Shefflin: 'I feel that I will be a part of the championship this year'

Shefflin: 'I feel that I will be a part of the championship this year'

HENRY Shefflin thinks his role as an RTE Sunday Game analyst will keep him 'involved' in this summer’s All Ireland hurling championship.

Thirty six year old Shefflin enjoyed a glittering career with Kilkenny and Ballyhale Shamrocks, but is now looking forward to the next chapter.

"I did think strongly about it,” Shefflin told RTE about whether he would become an analyst. “It’s not for everyone, but for me, I want to be involved in the championship. It’s been such a part of my life and I feel that I will be a part of the championship this year."

"I’ll be going to things like Munster Championship games, games that I wouldn’t have gone to before because I was always playing and preparing for Kilkenny. That’s not to say I won’t miss playing, but I am looking forward to that."

Thrilled by All Ireland glory with Kilkenny in September and Ballyhale in March Shefflin is happy with his decision to leave the inter-county stage.

"I couldn’t have asked for a better time. I grew up in Ballyhale and when I was growing up winning a club All-Ireland was my main focus. To achieve both of those goals in the same year was special.

"I took a step back from the bubble of playing at the top level and made my decision. A few weeks on now, I’m very comfortable with that. There hasn’t been one passing day yet where I’ve thought 'I’d love to be in there' or 'did I do the right thing?'."

Shefflin is adamant that Kilkenny can retain the Liam McCarthy Cup despite the retirements of several high profile stars.

"Brian (Cody) said it earlier in the year, they are in transition. But there is still the basis of a very strong team. There are players getting an opportunity now who might not have got it in the last few years and it’s really up to them. The spine of the team is still very strong.

"I would say that they can’t afford to have injuries like before because the depth in the team is not as strong."

"Yes, there are a lot of players gone, but it might be a great motivation for the other players to say 'we can do it without those lads'."