Henry Shefflin, the genius and ‘Mr Unfortunate’ of the Kilkenny hurling scene for the past few years, returned with a bang.
Uninviting, wet and cold days in January are not familiar hurling days to Shefflin these past few years. Two cruciate ligament injuries, a bad shoulder injury followed by a broken bone in his foot grounded him in years past.
On Sunday, a few days after celebrating his 35th birthday, he lit up an otherwise grey afternoon with a hurling show. He was 100% accurate from frees; he showed fantastic vision when throwing around passes, and he decorated a first class performance with an odd trick or two. Shefflin is back!
“He is mad to play,” suggested Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody after reminding that the past three Winters were ruined on Shefflin because of a catalogue of injuries. “He is bursting to get out there.”
Shefflin had a hand in Kilkenny’s goal, which was plundered by a flying Colin Fennelly in the fourth minute. It was an ideal opening for the winners, who were playing into the gale force wind.
Galway recovered well, and by half-time they were looking good when 0-12 to 1-5 ahead. By the 43rd minute the Cats had caught up (0-13 to 1-10). In the 45th minute Shefflin shot his team in front as he raced away to a second half take of 10 points.
Next up are Dublin in the final, which will be be played in Croke Park as part of a double header with the Dublin v Kerry National Football League game this Saturday. The Walsh Cup decider throws in at 5pm.
SCORERS: Kilkenny - Henry Shefflin (0-13, 11 frees); Colin Fennelly (1-3); Jonjo Farrell (0-3); Brian Hogan, Aidan Fogarty, Eoin Larkin, Mark Kelly, Padraig Walsh (0-1 each). Galway - Niall Healy (0-8, five frees, one 65); Niall Burke, Cathal Mannion (0-2 each); Colm Callanan (0-1, free); Darragh Burke, Davy Glennon (0-1 each).