The Henry Shefflin era has started with a win for Galway’s senior hurlers as the Tribesmen beat Michael Fennelly’s Offaly 2-19 to 0-19 on Sunday.
Speaking to Galway Bay FM after the game, the ten-time All-Ireland winner with Kilkenny praised the response of his new charges for this time of the year in getting stuck it, figuring out their problems, and getting the right result.
“I’m very pleased, obviously, with the result but every manager says this time of the year it’s more the attitude and the character and it was a test of that”, said Shefflin in the aftermath of Sunday’s Walsh Cup victory.
“This phase is a development phase for us all, we’re doing a lot of training and you’re looking at new players. It’s a great opportunity for new players to get a chance to go out there and show their talents.”
“It is difficult conditions for them [the players] but to be fair, very pleasing. Obviously, the result is good but it’s not about the result. It’s more the attitude and building on the stuff they’re doing in the training ground.”
Training too has been positive and while he won’t be able to coax Joe Canning back to the senior ranks, Shefflin is happy in what he’s been seeing at Loughgeorge of late.
“It’s no different to any team this time of year. Training has gone very well, players putting in a big shift and a big effort. It’s brilliant to see new players there and getting a result at the end of the day.”
“I think there was six from the panel last year, six new players that are new to the panel this year and three more experienced players so, that’s what you want is to find that blend of experience and youth.”
“That’s what we’re looking for over the next month or so.”
A warm reception
Shefflin’s appointment to the top post in Galway hurling was seen as a master-stroke by the Galway county board last year. Indeed, it appeared that the Ballyhale man was an eleventh-hour appointment with Davy Fitzgerald seemingly lined up to step into the senior manager’s role before Shefflin was announced.
As for the welcome received, from senior management, players and fans alike, it’s all good as a county hungry for success know they have one of the most successful every in their pocket.
“Since myself and Richie have arrived up here it’s been very positive. I’ve always come up against Galway hurling and knew that it was a proud hurling county.”
“The welcome that myself, Richie, the management team and the players have received since the start has been so positive, very, very warm. The winters can be cold enough here but the reception has been very warm.”
“I’m not surprised. It’s a proud hurling county, they want to see their team doing well and that’s what I’m here to try and help out. At the end of the day, it’s the players. Offaly gave us bother in the first half but the players figured it out for themselves which is very pleasing for me and the management team.”