It has been a pretty eventful week for Galway hurling.
News had circulated on Tuesday that former Wexford, Waterford and Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald was on the brink of replacing Shane O’Neill as senior hurling manager with seemingly only a small number of formalities to go through before he was appointed to the post.
However, there was shock on Wednesday evening when Kilkenny legend Henry Shefflin was officially revealed as O’Neill’s successor.
The reaction to the news from Galway people has been largely positive, with many believing that it is a positive appointment from a County Board who had taken several weeks to find a manager.
Galway chairman Pat Kearney shared that sentiment of positivity when he spoke to RTE’s Morning Ireland on Thursday.
“It’s a great acquisition for Galway,” Kearney said.
“It’s an outstanding and positive appointment and we’re delighted. Henry is up for the challenge.
“He has an unrivalled career in hurling and in management he led Ballyhale to club All-Irelands in 2019 and 2020. He brings enthusiasm, vision and values.
“We have young players coming in off the five minor All-Irelands. Added to the core of players that is there they should be focused, dedicated and motivated by Henry.
“His very presence in the dressing room has to inspire younger hurlers and that’s the aim.
Despite steering Ballyhale Shamrocks to two county championships, two Leinster titles and two club All-Ireland crowns, there are question marks around the 10-time All-Ireland winner’s credentials considering this is his first venture into inter-county management.
The Galway chairman was quick to brush that argument aside, however.
“Everybody has to start somewhere, and Henry is starting with a base,” Kearney stated.
“He has his values, he has his experience, presence, his motivation, and he’s up for the challenge.”
Kearney also gave his opinion on the speculation that Davy Fitzgerald was the apparent number one choice to fill the position.
“It’s the media’s job to speculate but there was one pillar missing and that was the facts,” says Kearney.
“It was a tight ship, we had to keep it that way. There was a lot of commentary on the issue. They [appointment committee] were focused on the job and they got their man.”