Henry Shefflin may have ten senior All Ireland medals after Saturday’s All Ireland final replay and they may have changed his name to “Ten”ry Shefflin but there are two other hurlers at his heels, with nine senior medals, JJ Delaney and Tommy Walsh.
That was part of the message from hurling supremo, Brian Cody when he addressed around 18,000 fans in Nowlan Park on Sunday night.
And he gave every indication that he will stay on for another year when he said it won’t be long before the heroes are back in Kilkenny with another all Ireland, hinting that the two players will reach the perfect 10.
There was a party atmosphere from early in the afternoon in Kilkenny GAA headquarters helped by the MC, Edwina Grace and two local bands, The Troubadours and The Ambassadors while a drone took crowd photos from overhead.
And when the fans finally saw their heroes on the open top bus on Assumption Place, they raised the roof of the new stand (the old is being rebuilt) and the hurlers, minor and senior, looked stunned by the size of the crowd.
Brian Cody who looked really relaxed joked with the players and told the audience that his team hadn’t received enough credit for the way they played in the drawn All Ireland final.
He praised therm for their skill in hooking, blocking and catching and said that many of the players behind him on the stage, had been children in the crowd at homecomings ten years ago.
He said the one thing they had more than anything else was spirit. He said their honesty, genuineness and determination shone through.
It was left to the chairman of the GAA County Board in Kilkenny, Ned Quinn to introduce the players and he did do with gusto, passion and quick wit, much to the delight of everyone and Alan Hayes, a former pupil of Brian Cody’s sang The Rose of Mooncoin to finish proceedings.