Reid expects Shefflin coaching return next year
By Cian O'Connell
TJ Reid expects Henry Shefflin to take up another managerial role next year.
With Reid acting as talisman, Shefflin guided Ballyhale Shamrocks to two All Ireland club titles on the spin.
Reid, though, wasn't surprised that Shefflin opted to take a break following January's Croke Park win over a defiant Borris-Ileigh outfit.
"I’d be friendly with Henry," Reid says. "I kind of knew after the club All-Ireland. We had a few drinks after it and he kind of whispered into my ear that he was stepping aside.
"It was not hard to take; in sport, managers and selectors come and go. He was a big leader there and so was Tommy Shefflin, Patrick Phelan and Richie O’Neill.
"It takes a whole group of people to steer a ship. He retired from Ballyhale at 38 and it was straight into management then so I think it was just to take a break, spend a bit of time with his wife Deirdre and the five kids.
"I think next year, we may see Henry involved in some shape or form be it with club or county. I think that’s the way he wants to go.
"The last two years with the club, I think he just wanted to get into that role, see did he like it, get an experience of it. He’ll probably move onto a new goal then."
What about the prospects of Shefflin one day operating as the Kilkenny boss?
"You’d have to ask Brian Cody that," Reid laughed. "Ah sure look you don’t know. Eddie Brennan is doing a great job in Laois. There will be plenty of people chomping at the bit to take over Kilkenny but there’s no point in even talking about that because it’s only ifs and buts.
"I’m sure when Brian does make his decision to step away, the county board will have a candidate picked - could be Henry, Derek Lyng, James McGarry, DJ - these lads. That’s next year or the year after or whatever. Brian is still eager and he’s willing to go."
Reid acknowledged the central role occupied by Cody in the enduring Kilkenny hurling story during the past two decades.
"He doesn’t allow standards to drop number one," Reid remarks.
"You probably heard David Herity speak about Brian Cody. Brian is a motivator. He is a leader. Number one thing is standards don’t drop either in training or whatever you are doing. You make sure standards don’t drop.
"If standards drop then you are in a dangerous place. Freshness comes from players so it does. Leadership comes from players. Players have responsibility for their own actions in terms of training, gym sessions, recovery. That comes down to the players.
"Brian always puts the trust in players. If you want to wear the black and amber jersey these are the things you have to be willing to do. He very much trusts players 100%.
"If you don’t do what your requirements are, unfortunately, you won’t be wearing that black and amber jersey for much longer. Or you won’t get the game time you should be getting.
"I think like any county, when you get the opportunity to wear that county jersey. It doesn’t take much work to make players excited. That is what you want to be since you were five or six years of age.
"A little bit of leadership, a little bit of guidance and confidence and motivation goes a long way with players. When you are in that position, you are there because you want to train. You want to play. You want to win.
"It is very much the players who take on the responsible role of being an inter-county hurler. Brian’s job is just to keep us motivated, keep us grounded, keep the spirit up. Obviously to try and compete as best we can."
Ballyhale Shamrocks and Kilkenny hurler TJ Reid was speaking at the launch of AIB’s new video series that will tell the story of the GAA’s toughest summer. The video series will consist of five webisodes as well as a feature-length documentary that will be broadcast in August.