Ballyhale Shamrocks and Kilkenny legend Henry Shefflin joins Shane Stapleton to talk about his club’s latest success, the inter-county season ahead, TJ Reid’s class, and if there should be a club All-Ireland this season.
BY SHANE STAPLETON
Henry Shefflin believes it would be asking too much of inter-county players to face into provincial and All-Ireland clubs championships after Christmas.
The competitions have been running for 50 seasons — with his native Ballyhale Shamrocks winning it on eight occasions — and the GAA recently confirmed that there would be no u-turn on their decision to not stage it this time around.
Shefflin won the title three times as a player and managed his home club to the summit in both 2019 and 2020, but feels it would be a bridge too far given the nature of the season.
Davy Fitzgerald this week said he would like the association to take a second look at their decision, explaining: “It’s definitely worth revisiting. It’s a long-standing tradition.
“I know times are tough, but it makes it all the better if we can get through it.”
Meanwhile, Munster Council PRO Bob Ryan has stated that they wouldn’t rule out playing their provincial championship after calls from a number of managers who had been successful in their counties.
“I suppose I’m going to be a little bit different to most other people,” Shefflin exclusively says to OurGame.
“Most managers do not say anything about it until they have won their county final and we have seen county final successes in recent weeks and managers talking about it.
“Obviously we have seen some very high-profile teams coming through and us in the media would love to see it, neutrals would (love to see it), because there are some classic teams and it would be a great spectacle.
“With the year that’s in it, we talk a lot about player burn-out and previously about how we fix the calendar.
“We have had that this year with Covid, and the split-season has worked brilliantly and that’s the way it will be going forward, and rightly so.
“But to ask inter-county players to do first of all what they have done for their clubs, and by all accounts inter-county players across the country have been the top performers…
“To ask those players to now do it for their inter-county teams and then, come Christmas time they have week or two off, and then you have another club campaign, I think it would be very difficult on them.
“Physically first of all, but mentally as well.”
Shefflin also speaks in our interview (top of the page) about Ballyhale Shamrocks completing a three-in-a-row, where TJ Reid gets his hunger from, and Kilkenny’s prospects heading into the 2020 inter-county season.
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