Henry Shefflin

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Henry Shefflin
Henry Shefflin pictured with the Liam McCarthy Cup and Greg Franzoni, St Patrick's Day 2009
Personal information
Irish name Anraí Ó Sibhleáin
Sport Hurling
Position Centre Forward
Born (1979-01-11) 11 January 1979 (age 35)
Waterford, Ireland
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Nickname King Henry, Sheff
Occupation Bank official
Club(s)
Years Club
1997–present Ballyhale Shamrocks
Club Titles
Kilkenny titles 4
Leinster titles 3
All-Ireland Titles 2
Colleges(s)
Years College
1999–2002 WIT
College titles
Fitzgibbon titles 2
Inter-county(ies)**
Years County Apps (scores)
1999–present Kilkenny 62 (27-480)
Inter-county titles
Leinster titles 13
All-Irelands 9
NHL 5
All Stars 11
**Inter County team apps and scores correct as of (02:22, 4 October 2012 (UTC).

Henry Shefflin (born 11 January 1979) is an Irish hurler who plays as a centre-forward for the Kilkenny senior team.

A native of Ballyhale, County Kilkenny, Shefflin first excelled at hurling whilst at school in St. Kieran's College. He arrived on the inter-county scene at the age of seventeen when he first linked up with the Kilkenny minor team, before later lining out with the under-21 side. He made his senior debut in the 1999 championship. Shefflin has since gone on to play a key role in the forwards for Kilkenny, and has won a record nine All-Ireland medals on the field of play.[1] He has also won twelve Leinster medals and five National Hurling League medals. The All-Ireland-winning captain in 2007, he been an All-Ireland runner-up on three occasions.[2]

As a member of the Leinster inter-provincial team at various times, Shefflin has won three Railway Cup medals. At club level he is a two-time All-Ireland medallist with Ballyhale Shamrocks. He has also won three Leinster medals and five championship medals.

Shefflin's career tally of 27 goals and 477 points ranks him as the top championship scorer of all-time.[3]

Throughout his career Shefflin has made 62 championship appearances, setting him apart as Kilkenny's most "capped" player of all-time. While some expected Shefflin to retire after the 2013 championship, he announced that he is expected to return for another season in 2014.[4]

Shefflin is widely regarded as one of the greatest hurlers in the history of the game, with many ranking him as the number one player of all-time.[5] He has won a record-breaking eleven All-Star awards, as well as being the only player to be named Hurler of the Year on three occasions. He has been repeatedly voted onto teams made up of the sport's greats, including on a special Leinster Hurling Team (1984-2009).[6][7]

Biography[edit]

Early years[edit]

Shefflin was born at the Regional Hospital Waterford to Henry and Mae Shefflin (née Fitzgerald). One of a family of four boys and three girls, he was born into a household that had a strong sporting background, particularly in the game of hurling.

Shefflin was educated at St. Patrick's national school in Ballyhale where his hurling skills were first noted and honed by the local headmaster, Joe Dunphy. As a child he saw his two older brothers line out with the Kilkenny hurlers at various grades. John Shefflin won an All-Ireland winners' medal in the minor grade in 1990, while Tommy Shefflin won an All-Ireland winners' medal in the under-21 grade that same year.[8][9] A younger brother, Paul Shefflin, also won Leinster minor medals in the late 1990s.

Shefflin later attended St. Kieran's College in Kilkenny, one of the most famous hurling nurseries in Ireland. Although regarded as an average hurler at the time, he finally broke onto the college senior team and won a Leinster title in 1996 before later lining out in the All-Ireland final. St. Colman's College, an equally famous hurling nursery in Cork, provided the opposition on that occasion. St. Kieran's were more than able for their opponents and recorded a 1–14 to 2–6 victory, giving Shefflin a coveted All-Ireland colleges' winners' medal and establishing him as a player of immense talent.

Shefflin later attended the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) where he first studied electronics. Shefflin later changed course and decided to study business studies and financial services. While studying at WIT he played on the college hurling team and won back-to-back Fitzgibbon Cup titles in 1999 and 2000.[10] Shefflin graduated with an honours degree.

Personal life[edit]

Shefflin currently works with New Holland Finance, a subsidiary of Bank of Ireland.[11] His main area of responsibility is in the agri-business side of matters, handling the finance for all the New Holland tractor sales in the locality. His region of responsibility takes in the south-east of the country, including Tipperary, Kilkenny, Wexford, Carlow and Kildare.

On 30 March 2007 Shefflin married Deirdre O'Sullivan, a native of Callan, County Kilkenny and a camogie player of note in her own right.[12] Just over a year later in April 2008 the Shefflins celebrated the birth of their first child, a daughter named Sadhbh.[13] On 30 October 2009 Henry Michael Shefflin, the couple's second child and first son, was born. A third child, a daughter, was born in 2011.[14]

Hurling career[edit]

Club[edit]

Shefflin plays his local club hurling with Ballyhale Shamrocks and has had much success with the club. when he was 14 years-old Shefflin failed to make the club's under-16 team. He remained persistent and eventually made the cut. Ballyhale Shamrocks became one of the most successful clubs in the county following their foundation in the 1970s, however, by the late 1990s things were not so good. Shefflin enjoyed his first major success with the club when he captured a county minor championship winners' medal in 1997. That same year Ballyhale Shamrocks won the county intermediate hurling championship, thus securing promotion to the senior ranks once again.[15] Success at senior level was slow in coming. In 2004 it was even rumoured that he was moving clubs to play in Cork with Blackrock. This rumour proved to be unfounded.

At senior level with Ballyhale Shefflin won a county senior championship winners' medal in 2006.[16] He later added a Leinster club title to his collection when Ballyhale won the provincial title at the end of the year. The club later qualified for the All-Ireland final with Loughrea providing the opposition. Shefflin played a key role in that game and went on to collect a coveted All-Ireland club medal.[17] In 2007 Ballyhale continued their winning ways with the club winning a second consecutive county title. Shefflin played no role in this victory due to injury. His side were later defeated in the Leinster club semi-final by Birr.[18]

In 2008 Ballyhale were the masters of Kilkenny club hurling once again. Shefflin remained injury-free for the entire season as he helped the club to qualify for a fourth consecutive club final. City rivals James Stephens provided the opposition on that occasion, however, a close game saw victory go to Shefflin's side. It was a third county title in-a-row for 'the Shamrocks'.[19] The club later qualified for the provincial club final, with old rivals Birr providing the opposition. In the end Ballyhale and a relatively comfortable 2–13 to 1–11 win, giving Shefflin a second Leinster club winners' medal.[20] Ballyhale Shamrocks were subsequently blitzed on a score line of 5–11 to 1–16 by Portumna in the All-Ireland semi-final.

In the 2009 Kilkenny club season the Shamrocks completed a four-in-a-row (defeating arch rivals, James Stephens in the final for the second year in succession), Shefflin playing a very large part in his club securing this record. He also contributed strongly to the Leinster club title being retained by the Shamrocks, the first time this was achieved in the Club's history. He was 'Man of the Match' in the All Ireland Club semi-final played in Thurles against the Cork champions, Newtownshandrum. This led to a highly anticapated re-match with Portumna, Shefflin contributed strongly from play & frees in a great team performance. [21]

Minor, under-21 & intermediate[edit]

Shefflin first came to prominence on the inter-county scene as a member of the Kilkenny minor hurling team in the mid-1990s. He won a Leinster title in this grade in 1996 following a 1–16 to 1–11 defeat of Dublin.[22] Kilkenny were subsequently defeated in the All-Ireland semi-final. Shefflin was eligible for the minor team again in 1997. That year he added a second Leinster winners' medal to his collection following a 3–16 to 0–10 trouncing of Offaly.[23] Once again Kilkenny's championship campaign came to an end at the All-Ireland semi-final stage.

While just out of the minor grade Shefflin was drafted onto the Kilkenny intermediate hurling team in 1998. That year he captured a Leinster title following a 3–13 to 0–11 defeat of Wexford.[24] Shefflin later lined out in the All-Ireland final with Limerick providing the opposition. An interesting game developed between thesetwo sides, however, at the final whistle victory went to Limerick by 4–16 to 2–17 and Shefflin was left with an All-Ireland runners-up medal.[25]

By this stage Shefflin was also a member of the Kilkenny under-21 team. He captured a Leinster winners' medal in this grade in 1998 following a close-run 2–10 to 0–12 victory over Dublin.[26] Kilkenny were later defeated in the All-Ireland semi-final. The following year Shefflin added a second Leinster under-21 title to his collection following an eleven-point drubbing of Offaly.[26] Kilkenny later breezed into the All-Ireland final with Galway providing the opposition. A close game followed, however, at the full-time whistle Kilkenny were the winners by 1–13 to 0–14 and Shefflin had captured a coveted All-Ireland winners' medal.[27]

Senior[edit]

In 1999 Shefflin made his senior debut for Kilkenny under the new manager Brian Cody.[28] Even in his debut season he was regarded as a prolific scorer. A first provincial final saw Shefflin score a total of 1–6 against reigning All-Ireland champions Offaly. A huge 5–14 to 1–16 victory over their near rivals gave Kilkenny the win and gave Shefflin his first Leinster winners' medal.[29] Shefflin later lined out in his first All-Ireland final at senior level. Arch-rivals Cork provided the opposition on the occasion of his maiden championship decider. 'The Cats' were the red-hot favourites going into the game, however, poor weather meant that the game would not live up to expectations. Both Cork and Kilkenny recorded seventeen wides apiece throughout the match. Kilkenny led by four points entering the last quarter, however, Cork fought back to secure a narrow 0–13 to 0–12 victory over Shefflin's side.[30]

In 2000 Shefflin lined out in a second consecutive Leinster final against Offaly. Once again it was Kilkenny who had the upper-hand and a comfortable 2–21 to 1–13 victory gave Shefflin a second Leinster winners' medal. As a result of the so-called 'back-door' system in the championship both sides later faced off against each other again in the All-Ireland final. D.J. Carey capitalised on an Offaly mistake after just six minutes to start a goal-fest for 'the Cats'. Carey scored 2–4 in all, sharing his second goal with Shefflin who also scored a goal in the second-half. At the full-time whistle KIlkenny were the champions by 5–15 to 1–14 and Shefflin had collected his first All-Ireland winners' medal. He was subsequently honoured with his first All-Star award.

In 2001 Kilkenny retained their provincial crown following a facile 2–19 to 0–12 defeat of Wexford.[31] While Kilkenny were expected to reach the All-Ireland final and retain their title, an unexpected defeat by Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final brought their campaign to an end.

Kilkenny recovered from this shock defeat and signalled their intent by getting into the final of the National Hurling League in 2002. Cork provided the opposition on that occasion and a close game developed. Shefflin chipped in with three points to help Kilkenny to a 2–15 to 2–14 victory.[32] It was his first National League title. The subsequent provincial championship saw Kilkenny play Wexford in the championship decider. The men from the 'model county' were far from a push-over on this occasion, however, a narrow 0–19 to 0–17 score line gave Kilkenny the win and gave Shefflin a fourth Leinster title.[33] A subsequent victory over Tipperary allowed Kilkenny to advance to another All-Ireland final. First-round losers Clare worked their way through the qualifier system and provided the opposition to 'the Cats'. There was no doubt in the pundits' minds that there would be anything but a Kilkenny victory. Shefflin and D.J. Carey combined to score 2–13, while Clare's forwards missed two easy goal chances. At the full-time whistle Kilkenny were the champions by 2–20 to 0–19.[34] Shortly after collecting his second All-Ireland winners' medal Shefflin was presented with a second All-Star award. He also ended the year by being named 'Hurler of the Year' by Texaco, Vodafone and by his peers at the Gaelic Players’ Association.

In 2003 Kilkenny's dominance of all hurling competitions continued. For the second consecutive year Shefflin's side qualified for the final of the National League. Old rivals Tipperary were the opponents and a cracking game of hurling developed between the two. Shefflin was his side's top scorer with 2–6, as Kilkenny claimed a narrow 5–14 to 5–13 victory.[35] It was Shefflin's second National League winners' medal. The Leinster hurling counties provided little opposition in the subsequent championship campaign and Kilkenny marched to yet another Leinster title. The 2–23 to 2–12 defeat of Wexford gave Shefflin a fifth consecutive Leinster winners' medal.[36] Subsequent success over Tipperary gave Kilkenny a save passage into an All-Ireland final showdown with Cork. Shefflin's side were the overwhelming favourites going into the game, however, they never led by more than four points at any stage of the game. Setanta Ó hAilpín scored the equalising goal for Cork after the restart, however, Martin Comerford's goal five miutes before the end clinched a 1–14 to 1–11 victory for Kilkenny.[37] It was Shefflin's third All-Ireland winners' medal in four years. A third All-Star award quickly followed.

In 2004 Kilkenny were aiming for an unprecedented third All-Ireland victory in-a-row, however, the team was now under severe pressure from all quarters. For the first time in seven years Kilkenny failed in their bid to become Leinster champions as a last-gasp Wexford goal ended an almost unprecedented run of success at the semi-final stage.[38] Kilkenny took the scenic route via the qualifiers system, however, after a scare against Clare they still reached the All-Ireland final. For the second year in-a-row Cork provided the opposition on a gloomy and overcast day. The sides were level for much of the game, however, in the final twenty minutes Cork scored nine points without reply and secured the victory.[39] Kilkenny ended the year with no silverware, however, in spite of this Shefflin was still presented with a third All-Star award.

Kilkenny were back in form in 2005 and duly qualified for the National League final. Clare were the opponents on that occasion, however, they provided little opposition for 'the Cats'. Kilkenny went on a scoring rampage, with Shefflin capturing 1–7, to secure a 3–20 to 0–15 victory and a third National League title in the decade.[40] Kilkenny later proved that the 2004 defeat in Leinster was just a temporary blip. A 0–22 to 1–16 defeat of Wexford in the final gave Kilkenny possession of the provincial title and gave Shefflin a sixth Leinster winners' medal.[41] While a third successive All-Ireland showdown with Cork seemed likely, Galway defeated Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final in one of the game's of the decade. In spite of failing to reach the championship decider a fifth All-Star award was quickly added to Shefflin's collection.

In 2006 Shefflin captured a fourth National League title in five years following a 3–11 to 0–14 victory over Limerick.[42] Shefflin later won his seventh Leinster title following another facile victory over Wexford, before lining out in the All-Ireland final. The game that everyone had predicted would happen in 2005 was now taking place as Cork squared up to Kilkenny for the third time in four years. The Leesiders were aiming for a third All-Ireland victory in-a-row; however, revenge was foremost in the minds of Kilkenny as it was Cork who denied their three-in-a-row bid in 2004. On the day Kilkenny were far too strong for Cork as 'the Cats' secured a 1–16 to 1–13 victory.[43] It was Shefflin's fourth All-Ireland winners' medal. A sixth All-Star award in the forward line quickly followed.

In 2007 Kilkenny were aiming for a third consecutive National League title. Shefflin, in spite of being appointed captain of the team, had played little part in the campaign but was brought in for the final. Waterford, however, triumphed in the final for the first time in forty-four years. Kilkenny moved on undeterred and Shefflin captured an eighth Leinster medal following another facile victory in the final. Once again Kilkenny later qualified for the final where, surprisingly, Limerick provided the opposition. Kilkenny got off to a flying start with Eddie Brennan and Shefflin combining to score two goals within the first ten minutes. Unfortunately, Shefflin sustained an injury during the game and had to retire at half-time. In spite of losing their captain and star player Kilkenny still went on to win the game by 2–19 to 1–15 and Shefflin had the honour of collecting a fifth All-Ireland medal and receiving the Liam McCarthy Cup.[44] It was later revealed that he ruptured a cruciate knee ligament which kept him out of action for his club until the following summer. Shefflin later captured a seventh All-Star award, a record-breaking sixth in succession.[45]

2008 saw Kilkenny launch an all-out attack in an attempt to capture a third All-Ireland title in-a-row. After missing the National League campaign because of his injury Shefflin returned for the provincial campaign.[46] The team had an easy passage through the Leinster Championship, however, the opening half of the provincial final against Wexford gave ‘the Cats’ another minor scare. In the end Shefflin collected his ninth Leinster winners' medal after a 5–21 to 0–17 victory. This victory allowed Kilkenny to advance directly to the All-Ireland semi-final where arch-rivals Cork were the opponents. The game was an interesting encounter. It was the first time that these two sides had met outside of the championship decider, however, Kilkenny claimed a 1–23 to 0–17 victory. The subsequent All-Ireland final saw Kilkenny take on Waterford. It was their first meeting in the championship decider in forty-five years. A classic game of hurling was expected by many, however, Kilkenny started stronger. Two goals by Eddie Brennan after twenty minutes effectively killed the game, however, ‘the Cats’ ploughed on. Shefflin chipped in with some inspirational points to give his team an enormous 3–30 to 1–13.[47] It was Shefflin's sixth All-Ireland winners' medal. A record-breaking seventh consecutive All-Star award soon followed for Shefflin as Kilkenny dominated the team of the year selection. It was his eighth All-Star in all.[48]

With the three-in-a-row taken care of, 2009 Kilkenny set out to break Cork's seemingly unbeatable record of four championship titles in succession. Tipperary were seen as the main challengers to Kilkenny's dominance and both sides lined out against each other in the final of the National League. Tipperary stormed into a decisive lead as they took the game by the scruff of the; however, 'the Cats' clawed their way back into the game. At the end of normal time both sides were level. A period of extra-time followed, however, in spite of battling to the very end Tipp were beaten and Kilkenny won by 2–26 to 4–17.[49] It was Shefflin's fifth National League winners' medal. The subsequent championship campaign saw 'the Cats' line out against Dublin in the Leinster final. In the absence of regular captain Michael Fennelly, Shefflin took over as skipper. While many expected 'the Dubs' to be lambs to the slaughter in that game, Kilkenny found it difficult to cope. It took two goals from Martin Comerford to secure a 2–18 to 0–18 victory and a tenth Leinster winners' medal for Shefflin.[50] After a six-week lay-off and a thrilling semi-final with Waterford, Kilkenny qualified for a fourth successive final and the chance to make history. In a repeat of the league final, Tipperary were the opponents. For much of the match it looked as if Tipp would pull off a shock and deny 'the Cats' a record-equaling four-in-a-row. Two quick goals in the space of a minute, one from a penalty by Shefflin, sealed a 2–22 to 0–23 victory. It was the fourth time in-a-row that the famed Liam McCarthy Cup was presented to a Kilkenny team.[51] It was also Shefflin's seventh All-Ireland medal, one off the all-time record.

The drive for five dominated Kilkenny's championship season in 2010. Shefflin added an eleventh Leinster medal to his collection following a 1-19 to 1-12 defeat of Galway.[52] In the subsequent All-Ireland semi-final defeat of Cork, Shefflin had to be substituted after he severed his cruciate ligament.[53] While it was feared that this would rule him out of the All-Ireland decider against Tipperary on 5 September, he made a remarkable recovery and was deemed to fit to start that game.[54][55] After scoring an early free in the final, his knee again gave out and he was replaced after twelve minutes. The bid for five-in-a-row foundered with Tipperary taking the championship decider with a convincing win by a scoreline of 4–17 to 1–18 margin.

Kilkenny won a record-breaking seventh successive Leinster title in 2011, following a 4-17 t0 1-15 defeat of reigning National League champions Dublin.[56] It was Shefflin's twelfth provincial medal. The All-Ireland final on 4 September saw Kilkenny face Tipperary for the third successive year. Kilkenny were slight underdogs, however, Michael Fennelly and Richie Hogan grabbed the vital goals late in each half. Shefflin bagged seven points in the 2-17 to 1-16 victory.[57] It was an eighth All-Ireland medal for Shefflin, with Eddie Brennan also picking up his eighth winners' memento, thus equalling the record of Christy Ring of Cork and John Doyle of Tipperary. He later broke another record by picking up a tenth All-Star.[58]

In 2012 Kilkenny were shocked in the Leinster final when Galway secured their first ever title with a 2-21 to 2-11 victory.[59] In spite of this both sides met again in the subsequent All-Ireland decider on 9 September. Shefflin opened the scoring with a point, but his accuracy was well below standard as he struck a handful of wides. After a close game Joe Canning struck a stoppage time equaliser to send the final to a replay for the first time since 1959.[60] The replay three weeks later was much more conclusive. Shefflin gave a great performance, top scoring for Kilkenny with nine points. A comfortable 3-22 to 3-11 victory gave Shefflin an unprecedented ninth All-Ireland winners' medal on the field of play.[61][62][63] He was later presented with an eleventh All-Star award, as well as becoming the first player to be named Hurler of the Year for a third time.[64]

On 1 December 2012 Shefflin went off injured in Ballyhale Shamrocks' defeat by Oulart the Ballagh in the provincial club championship. While the problem was initially thought to be just a badly sprained ankle it was later revealed to be ligament damage and a break in his left mid-foot.[65][66] This injury ruled him out of Kilkenny's successful National league campaign.[67] A damaged metatarsal delayed his recovery resulting in him missing Kilkenny's opening championship games.[68] Shefflin made his return to hurling when he was introduced for the last five minutes of Kilkenny's 0-20 to 1-14 qualifier defeat of Tipperary.[69] He was included on the starting fifteen for Kilkenny's subsequent All-Ireland quarter-final against Cork. Just before half time Shefflin received a second yellow card and was red carded for the first time in his championship career. Kilkenny went on to lose the game by 0-19 to 0-14.[70] After an appeal to the Central Hearings Committee Shefflin's red card was subsequently rescinded.[71]

Inter-provincial[edit]

Shefflin has also lined out with Leinster in the inter-provincial hurling championship. He first played for his province in 1999, however, he had to wait another few years before success in that competition.

In 2002 Leinster faced arch rivals Munster in the decider at Nowlan Park. The game ended in somewhat controversial circumstances when the referee awarded a free when Munster's Peter Queally was deemed to have fouled Jimmy Coogan. Shefflin pointed the free to give Leinster a narrow 4-15 to 3-17 victory.[72] It was Shefflin's first Railway Cup medal.

Leinster were back in the decider again in 2003. Rome was the venue with Connacht providing the opposition. Leinster were nine points in arrears early in the second half, however, the team fought back to secure a 4-9 to 2-12 victory.[73] It was Shefflin's second Railway Cup medal.

In 2009 Shefflin was back on the Leinster team once again. His kicked goal five minutes after the restart set up a 3-18 to 1-17 defeat of Connacht once again.[74]

Recognition[edit]

Shefflin has come to be regarded as one of the greatest, if not the greatest player of all-time and has received much praise from Irish sportspeople in all fields.

Fellow nine-time All-Ireland medallist and former Kilkenny goalkeeper Noel Skehan said of him in the build-up to the 2012 All-Ireland final: "Oh, as it stands, you’re talking about the greatest hurler ever even if he didn’t win on Sunday. He’ll still be the greatest hurler. He’s a fantastic sportsman. What he has achieved up until now, even forgetting the result on Sunday, you’d have to put him well up on top of the ladder. To do it all on the pitch is a great achievement. To start every championship match since he came on the scene, it goes without saying how good that is and I hope to God that he achieves it."[75]

Six-time All-Ireland dual medallist and All-Ireland-winning manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy wrote: "He is most certainly the greatest hurler that I have ever seen, and I even saw Christy Ring towards the end of his days. But this guy outshines everything that I have ever seen on a hurling field. His work ethic is amazing, and one that others must aspire to if they are to reach the stars."[76]

Writing in the Kilkenny GAA Yearbook 2012, contemporary Cork hurler, Donal Óg Cusack, wrote: "If there is better to come than Henry, I for one would hope to be around to see him. He is the perfect example for every young player. He doesn’t practice and live his life the way he does because he is Henry Shefflin. He is Henry Shefflin BECAUSE he does those things, and doesn’t stop. He drives on."

Five-time All-Ireland medallist D. J. Carey regards Shefflin as the "greatest forward of all time."[77]

In the build-up to Shefflin's bid for a ninth All-Ireland medal, former Tipperary hurler and manager Babs Keating wrote: "If he can do that he can go down as the greatest hurler in every way. If he can do that it is a record that I can't see ever being surpassed."[78]

Joe Canning, the player Shefflin pipped to the Hurler of the Year award in 2012, stated: "Henry is the best player that has every played and his nine All-Ireland medals speaks for itself. Everybody models themselves on him because he is the ultimate team player and everyone wants to be like him...There is no doubt about it - everybody wants to have him on their team. He is probably the best hurler that has ever played."[79]

Eddie Keher, a six-time All-Ireland medallist and the man who Shefflin surpassed as the top scorer of all-time, stated: "Henry Shefflin is the greatest hurler of all time. He's a most sporting player and he's competitive."[80]

Contemporary Waterford hurler John Mullane wrote: "I can't speak highly enough of Shefflin either. Henry is simply irreplaceable and the measure of the man is his ability to bounce back from serious injuries in recent years to get himself fully fit for the championship."[81]

When asked who he considers to be Ireland’s greatest ever athlete, former Ireland rugby captain Brian O'Driscoll said: "That would be the hurler Henry Shefflin, this guy has been an absolute phenomen for the last 12,13 years. He’s won nine All-Ireland championships with his county and they’re not easy to come by."[82]

Championship appearances[edit]

List of appearances
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result W/L/D Competition
1 20 June 1999 Croke Park, Dublin Laois 0–10 6–21 : 1–14 W Leinster Semi-Final
2 11 July 1999 Croke Park, Dublin Offaly 1–06 5–11 : 1–16 W Leinster Final
3 15 August 1999 Croke Park, Dublin Clare 0–03 2–14 : 1–13 W All-Ireland Semi-Final
4 12 September 1999 Croke Park, Dublin Cork 0–05 0–12 : 0–13 L All-Ireland Final
5 19 June 2000 Croke Park, Dublin [83] Dublin 0–06 3–16 : 0–10 W Leinster Semi-Final
6 9 July 2000 Croke Park, Dublin Offaly 0–06 2–21 : 1–13 W Leinster Final
7 13 August 2000 Croke Park, Dublin Galway 0–07 2–19 : 0–17 W All-Ireland Semi-Final
8 10 September 2000 Croke Park, Dublin Offaly 1–03 5–15 : 1–14 W All-Ireland Final
9 10 June 2001 Croke Park, Dublin Offaly 1–06 3–21 : 0–18 W Leinster Semi-Final
10 8 July 2001 Croke Park, Dublin Wexford 0–04 2–19 : 0–12 W Leinster Final
11 19 August 2001 Croke Park, Dublin Galway 0–09 1–13 : 2–15 L All-Ireland Semi-Final
12 10 June 2002 Semple Stadium, Thurles Offaly 0–11 2–20 : 1–14 W Leinster Semi-Final
13 6 July 2002 Croke Park, Dublin Wexford 0–08 0–19 : 0–17 W Leinster Final
14 18 August 2002 Croke Park, Dublin Tipperary 0–07 1–20 : 1–16 W All-Ireland Semi-Final
15 8 September 2002 Croke Park, Dublin Clare 1–07 2–20 : 0–19 W All-Ireland Final
16 6 June 2003 Nowlan Park, Kilkenny Dublin 1–04 3–16 : 0–10 W Leinster Semi-Final
17 6 July 2003 Croke Park, Dublin Wexford 1–08 2–23 : 1–22 W Leinster Final
18 17 August 2003 Croke Park, Dublin Tipperary 1–07 3–18 : 0–15 W All-Ireland Semi-Final
19 11 September 2003 Croke Park, Dublin Cork 0–06 1–14 : 1–11 W All-Ireland Final
20 13 June 2004 Croke Park, Dublin Wexford 0–05 1–16 : 2–15 L Leinster Semi-Final
21 26 June 2004 Dr. Cullen Park, Carlow Dublin 2–08 4–22 : 0–8 W All-Ireland Qualifier R1
22 11 July 2004 Semple Stadium, Thurles Galway 2–11 4–20 : 1–10 W All-Ireland Qualifier R3
23 25 July 2004 Croke Park, Dublin Clare 0–08 1–13 : 1–13 D All-Ireland Quarter Final
24 31 July 2004 Semple Stadium, Thurles Clare 0–03 1–11 : 0–9 W All-Ireland Quarter-Final Replay
25 8 August 2004 Croke Park, Dublin Waterford 2–04 3–12 : 0–18 W All-Ireland Semi-Final
26 12 September 2004 Croke Park, Dublin Cork 0–05 0–9 : 0–17 L All-Ireland Final
27 3 July 2005 Croke Park, Dublin Offaly 2–11 6–28 : 0–15 W Leinster Semi-Final
28 3 July 2005 Croke Park, Dublin Wexford 0–08 0–22 : 1–16 W Leinster Final
29 31 July 2005 Croke Park, Dublin Limerick 0–09 0–18 : 0–13 W All-Ireland Quarter-Final
30 21 August 2005 Croke Park, Dublin Galway 1–09 4–18 : 5–18 L All-Ireland Semi-Final
31 10 June 2006 Cusack Park, Mullingar Westmeath 0–08 1–27 : 1–13 W Leinster Semi-Final
32 2 July 2006 Croke Park, Dublin Wexford 1–07 1–23 : 1–12 W Leinster Final
33 22 July 2006 Semple Stadium, Thurles Galway 0–11 2–22 : 3–14 W All-Ireland Quarter-Final
34 13 August 2006 Croke Park, Dublin Clare 1–13 2–21 : 1–16 W All-Ireland Semi-Final
35 3 September 2006 Croke Park, Dublin Cork 0–08 1–16 : 1–13 W All-Ireland Final
36 10 June 2007 O'Moore Park, Portlaoise Offaly 0–12 1–27 : 1–13 W Leinster Semi-Final
37 1 July 2007 Croke Park, Dublin Wexford 0–09 2–24 : 1–12 W Leinster Final
38 28 July 2007 Croke Park, Dublin Galway 0–07 3–22 : 1–18 W All-Ireland Quarter-Final
39 5 August 2007 Croke Park, Dublin Wexford 0–14 0–23 : 1–13 W All-Ireland Semi-Final
40 2 September 2007 Croke Park, Dublin Limerick 1–02 2–19 : 1–15 W All-Ireland Final
41 15 June 2008 O'Moore Park, Portlaoise Offaly 0–11 2–24 : 0–12 W Leinster Semi-Final
42 6 July 2008 Croke Park, Dublin Wexford 1–07 5–21 : 0–17 W Leinster Final
43 10 August 2008 Croke Park, Dublin Cork 0–09 1–23 : 0–17 W All-Ireland Semi-Final
44 7 September 2008 Croke Park, Dublin Waterford 0–08 3–30 : 1–13 W All-Ireland Final
45 21 June 2009 O'Connor Park, Tullamore Galway 0–10 2–20 : 3–13 W Leinster Semi-Final
46 5 July 2009 Croke Park, Dublin Dublin 0–06 2–18 : 0–18 W Leinster Final
47 9 August 2009 Croke Park, Dublin Waterford 1–14 2–23 : 3–15 W All-Ireland Semi-Final
48 6 September 2009 Croke Park, Dublin Tipperary 1–08 2–22 : 0–23 W All-Ireland Final
49 20 June 2010 Croke Park, Dublin Dublin 0–12 4–19 : 0–12 W Leinster Semi-Final
50 4 July 2010 Croke Park, Dublin Galway 1-07 1–19 : 1–12 W Leinster Final
51 8 August 2010 Croke Park, Dublin Cork 0-02 3–22 : 0–19 W All-Ireland Semi-Final
52 5 September 2010 Croke Park, Dublin Tipperary 0-01 1–18 : 4–17 L All-Ireland Final
53 12 June 2011 Wexford Park, Wexford Wexford 0-09 1–26 : 1–15 W Leinster Semi-Final
54 3 July 2011 Croke Park, Dublin Dublin 1-09 4–17 : 1–15 W Leinster Final
55 7 August 2011 Croke Park, Dublin Waterford 0-07 2-19 : 1–16 W All Ireland Semi-Final
56 4 September 2011 Croke Park, Dublin Tipperary 0-07 2-17 : 1–16 W All Ireland Final
57 23 June 2012 Portlaoise, Laois Dublin 0-10 2-21 : 0–09 W Leinster Semi-Final
58 8 July 2012 Croke Park, Dublin Galway 1-08 2-11 : 2-21 L Leinster Final
59 29 July 2012 Semple Stadium, Thurles Limerick 2-06 4-16 : 1-16 W Quarter-Final
60 19 August 2012 Croke Park, Dublin Tipperary 0-11 4-24 : 1–15 W All-Ireland Semi-Final
61 9 September 2012 Croke Park, Dublin Galway 0-12 0-19 : 2–13 D All-Ireland Final
62 30 September 2012 Croke Park, Dublin Galway 0-09 3-22 : 3-11 W All-Ireland Final - Replay
63 06 July 2013 (Sub) Nowlan Park, Kilkenny Tipperary 0–00 0-20 : 1–14 W All-Ireland Qualifier R2
64 13 July 2013 Semple Stadium, Thurles Waterford 0–00 1–22 : 2-16 W All-Ireland Qualifier R3
65 28 July 2013 Semple Stadium, Thurles Cork 0–00 0-14 : 0-19 L All-Ireland Quarter-Final
66 22 June 2014 (Sub) O'Connor Park, Tullamore Galway 0–01 3-22 : 5-16 D Leinster Semi-Final
67 28 June 2014 (Sub) O'Connor Park, Tullamore Galway 0–00 3-19 : 1-17 W Leinster Semi-Final replay
68 22 June 2014 (Sub) Croke Park, Dublin Dublin 0–03 0-24 : 1-09 W Leinster Final
69 10 August 2014 (Sub) Croke Park, Dublin Limerick 0–00 2-13 : 0-17 W All-Ireland Semi-Final
All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship scoring total
Rank Scores Rank Play Games Average Average (play)
1st 27–484 (565pts) 1st 24–136 (208pts) 69 games 8.31 3.06

All-Ireland Final scores[edit]

List of appearances
# Date Venue Opponent Score Play W/L Result
1 12 September 1999 Croke Park, Dublin Cork 0–05 0–01 L 0-12 : 0–13
2 10 September 2000 Croke Park, Dublin Offaly 1–03 1–01 W 5–15 : 1–14
3 8 September 2002 Croke Park, Dublin Clare 1–07 1–03 W 2-20 : 0–19
4 7 September 2003 Croke Park, Dublin Cork 0–06 0–02 W 1–14 : 1–11
5 12 September 2004 Croke Park, Dublin [83] Cork 0–05 0–02 L 0-09 : 0–17
6 3 September 2006 Croke Park, Dublin Cork 0–08 0–03 W 1–16 : 1–13
7 2 September 2007 Croke Park, Dublin Limerick 1–02 1–01 W 2–19 : 1–15
8 7 September 2008 Croke Park, Dublin Waterford 0–08 0–02 W 3–30 : 1–13
9 6 September 2009 Croke Park, Dublin Tipperary 1–08 0–01 W 2–22 : 0–23
10 5 September 2010 Croke Park, Dublin Tipperary 0–01 0–00 L 1–18 : 4–17
11 4 September 2011 Croke Park, Dublin Tipperary 0–07 0–02 W 2–17 : 1–16
12 9 September 2012 Croke Park, Dublin Galway 0–12 0–01 D 0-19 : 2–13
13 30 September 2012 (Replay) Croke Park, Dublin Galway 0–09 0–02 W 3-22 : 3–11
All-Ireland Senior Hurling Finals Scoring Total
Scores (Total) Rank Scores (Play) Rank Games Average
4-81 (93pts) 2nd 3–21 (30pts) 2nd 13 games 7.15

Honours[edit]

Player[edit]

St. Kieran's College
Waterford Institute of Technology
Ballyhale Shamrocks
Kilkenny
Leinster

Individual[edit]

Awards

Records[edit]

  • Only athlete in the history of Gaelic games to have won nine All-Ireland senior winners' medals on the field of play.
  • Only player to score a goal in fourteen consecutive championship seasons (1999–2012).
  • Joint most Leinster Championship titles (13) alongside Michael Kavanagh.
  • Highest scorer in the history of the All-Ireland championship.
  • Highest scoring average in the history of the All-Ireland championship (9 points per game).
  • Most All-Star awards (11).
  • Most 'Player of the Year' awards (3) - 2002, 2006, 2012
  • Highest scorer from play ( 24 - 132 = 204 points) in the history of the All Ireland championship including All Ireland Final replay 30/09/2012
  • 2nd highest scorer in All-Ireland finals - Eddie Keher has 7-74 (95 pts)

Sources[edit]

  • Corry, Eoghan, The GAA Book of Lists (Hodder Headline Ireland, 2005).
  • Donegan, Des, The Complete Handbook of Gaelic Games (DBA Publications Limited, 2005).

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Tommy Dunne
(Tipperary)
Vodafone Hurler of the Year
2002
Succeeded by
J. J. Delaney
(Kilkenny)
Texaco Hurler of the Year
2002
Gaelic Players' Association
Hurler of the Year

2002
Preceded by
Jerry O'Connor
(Cork)
Vodafone Hurler of the Year
2006
Succeeded by
Dan Shanahan
(Waterford)
Texaco Hurler of the Year
2006
Preceded by
John Gardiner
(Cork)
Gaelic Players' Association
Hurler of the Year

2006
Preceded by
Seán Óg Ó hAilpín
RTÉ Sports Person of the Year
2006
Succeeded by
Pádraig Harrington
Preceded by
Michael Fennelly
(Kilkenny)
GAA-GPA Hurler of the Year
2012
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Texaco Hurler of the Year
2012
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jackie Tyrrell
Kilkenny Senior Hurling Captain
2007
Succeeded by
James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick
Preceded by
James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick
Kilkenny Senior Hurling Captain
2009
Succeeded by
Michael Fennelly
Preceded by
Michael Fennelly
Kilkenny Senior Hurling Captain
2009
Succeeded by
Michael Fennelly
Achievements
Preceded by
Jackie Tyrrell
All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final
winning captain

2007
Succeeded by
James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick