GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
Joey Holden says Henry Shefflin has the attributes to manage intercounty
Last Updated: 13/02/20 11:38am
Henry Shefflin's departure as manager of Ballyhale Shamrocks was quite the mic-drop moment.
After calling time on his own playing career, he took over as manager of his local club two years ago, leading them to back-to-back All-Ireland titles.
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Merely four days after last month's All-Ireland final win over Borris-Ileigh, he elected to step away from the role.
His decision took everyone by surprise.
"We didn't know at all. He didn't make any reference to it at all," said Ballyhale and Kilkenny star Joey Holden. "The big focus was on the match, he celebrated a few days with us as well. He met us then later that week to tell us he was stepping down.
"He explained his reasons why; family commitments, he has five young kids and I think everyone understood the big commitment he had put into it. He said when he took over he would do two or three years, we didn't expect that it would be two full-on years as it was.
"Henry is the type of manager or character who is all in or not in at all. There is no half measures. It is a big commitment. I think he just wants to enjoy this summer with his family before he potentially looks at future jobs, whatever he wants to go into then."
Following his extraordinary two-year stint at the helm, Shefflin will be a man in demand. But could he take over the top job in Kilkenny, if and when Brian Cody decides to step away?
"It's hard to know," said Holden.
"Brian is there and he's enjoying the challenge. He's leading Kilkenny. Who knows when that will change, that's not for us to say.
"In regards to Henry and the attributes that he has, he certainly has the attributes to be an inter-county manager. His level of detail and all of that is superb. I know if he does go in he'll surround himself with good people that he wants to have in there.
"That's not to say it will be Kilkenny, it could be any team in the future. Who knows what team it will be but he certainly has the attributes to make it as a manager."
So what has made Shefflin such an effective manager?
"Managing us coming back from a hard inter-county season, he's been through that, he knows the challenges, he knows the mental strain there can be," explained Holden. "He would have been very understanding of that. Using that knowledge going into an area, it can only help.
"The big thing for me with the manager is they say the right thing at the right time, and he seemed to nail that every time. Whether we played a bad match, what to say, whether we played a good match, to keep us grounded. All the time he seemed to hit the nail on the head.
The big thing for me with the manager is they say the right thing at the right time
Holden knows Shefflin can read the room
"He surrounded himself with top-class people," added Holden.
"The detail that they went into was really brought onto another level."