Galway to ‘shop local’ after Shefflin steps down as senior hurling manager


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway to ‘shop local’ after Shefflin steps down as senior hurling manager Galway to ‘shop local’ after Shefflin steps down as senior hurling manager

Galway GAA officials intend to ‘shop local’ in their quest to find a new senior hurling team manager after Henry Shefflin ended his time with the Tribesmen on Wednesday afternoon.

It is hoped to have a successor to Shefflin in place by early September following the expected exit of the Kilkenny legend from the Galway helm: after three years in charge of the Tribesmen, Shefflin has cut his losses after a disappointing tenure which failed to deliver any league or championship silverware.

Falling to emerge from Leinster this year was the final straw as Galway suffered surprise round-robin defeats away to Wexford (1-28 to 0-23) and at home to Dublin (2-27 to 1-124), as well as drawing with Kilkenny (2-23 to 0-29), meaning their only round-robin wins this year were at home to Carlow (2-25 to 2-14) and away to Antrim (2-25 to 1-14).

With a major upheaval of the county squad required and the prospect of starting all over again, the odds were always on Shefflin calling time on his Galway sideline role.

A shock appointment in the winter of 2021, the arrival west of hurling’s most decorated player created a huge buzz of excitement, fuelling expectations that Galway at least would become serial All-Ireland contenders.

A decent first campaign under Shefflin culminated with an honourable two-point loss to hurling’s new superpower Limerick in the All-Ireland semi-final (0-27 to 1-21), but that gap between the teams stretched to nine after the teams clashed at the same stage of the 2023 championship (2-24 to 1-18).

The pressure was mounting on Shefflin, and in an attempt to shake things up this year, he brought in former Tipperary All-Ireland winning coach, the Galway-based Eamon O’Shea, to the managerial set-up.

But Galway never really caught fire in 2024, losing the Walsh Cup final to Wexford on a 1-21 to 0-16 scoreline; failing to make the knock-out stages of the National League; before prematurely crashing out of the championship.

Since their fatal home loss to Dublin in early June – a team ironically managed by former Galway All-Ireland winning supremo Micheal Donoghue – the anticipation was that Shefflin would not see out the final year of his term.

But time dragged on, leading to increased speculation that Shefflin – who won 10 senior All-Ireland hurling titles with Kilkenny – was preparing for one final crack at solving the Galway inconsistency riddle

A phone call, however, to County Board Chairman Paul Bellew on Wednesday afternoon removed that prospect as Galway now join Waterford in the search for a new hurling manager, after Davy Fitzgerald also stepped-down for the Déise county this week.

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