Things just got interesting in Ballyhale.
One of the most decorated hurlers of the modern era, with ten All-Ireland medals in his collection, Henry Shefflin is taking the reins of Ballyhale Shamrocks following the departure of Colm Bonnar and his backroom team after four seasons in charge.
Bonnar is expected to continue his duties with the Carlow senior hurling setup, their convention being held this Friday night.
Of their five league games this season in the St. Canince’s Credit Union Senior Hurling League, Shamrocks took two wins from five. Losing two on the trot to Dicksboro and Clara, they bounced back in round three for a win over the Village, collected a draw in round four against Danesforrt before finishing on a high with a 2-18 to 1-15 win over Bennettsbridge.
They dispatched Rower Inistioge with ease in round one of this year’s Championship and played out a thriller 2-14 draw against Clara in Nowlan Park at the end of September in the Quarter Final stages. The replay saw goals galore but they saw off Clara in Thomastown, 2-22 to 4-14. However, they were denied another crack at a county final at senior level, James Stephens knocking Shamrocks out with a 3-16 to 1-12 win in mid October.
It’s almost three years since Shefflin hung up his inter-county boots, though he has continued his club hurling with Ballyhale Shamrocks, most recently collecting an All-Ireland senior club hurling title in 2015. His playing time this term was limited with just one championship appearance, but there has been no official mention of whether he will start in a player-manager capacity or stick straight to management.
In a move that should make Ballyhale ‘the team to beat’ in 2018, Henry will be joined by brother Tommy on the sidelines, Tommy Shefflin having guided Carrickshock back to senior hurling for 2017 and on to claiming the All-Ireland Intermediate club hurling championship in March. Patrick Phelan and Richie O’Neill (Kilmacow) complete the backroom team.