Brian Cody on Paul Shefflin: ‘It’s just an absolute tragedy’

KILKENNY MANAGER BRIAN Cody has paid tribute to former Ballyhale Shamrocks player Paul Shefflin who passed away on Friday.

The younger brother of Henry Shefflin died while out running and news of his passing sent shockwaves through the local community.  

A minute silence was held for the 40-year-old father of four before yesterday’s Division 1B hurling tie between Kilkenny and Dublin in Parnell Park.

The Cats prevailed by 2-23 to 0-16, and afterwards Cody said: “It’s so sad for everybody concerned.

“He was a very good hurler, obviously a terrific club player and underage with Kilkenny as well and Fitzgibbon (Cup). It’s just an absolute tragedy.”

Speaking to RTÉ prior to the game, he said: “It’s a really, really sad time for Ballyhale, Kilkenny and the whole hurling community everywhere.

“The Shefflin family are synonymous with the game, and Paul was a terrific hurler himself and obviously just a really popular figure.”

Shefflin won three All-Ireland club titles and six Kilkenny crowns with Ballyhale during his career.

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“When the news trickled through, you were just asking yourself, ‘Why?’ said Jackie Tyrrell.

“All the things you alluded to – a great clubman, a family man. Possibly because of Henry’s success, his achievements may have been overshadowed. But you look at his list there – three club All-Irelands, a real great clubman, a coach and a treasurer there.

“I played against Paul a few times. A tough cookie, but a gentleman off the hurling field. It’s such a sad, sad day for a community like Ballyhale that have had a lot of tragedies, down through the years.”

Henry Shefflin was absent from the sideline yesterday for Galway’s defeat to Cork as he comes to term with the tragic passing.

Ballyhale’s Paul Shefflin celebrates with the Leinster club title in 2014.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Richie O’Neill, who was previously involved with Paul as part of Henry’s Ballyhale backroom team, assumed management duties for the day and he spoke afterwards about his shock at the sudden death. 

“It was shocking to get the call yesterday, the tragedy that had come on Paul, Ballyhale and the Shefflin family,” he told RTÉ.

“An absolutely brilliant chap. I got involved with Ballyhale with Henry in 2018 and Paul was just a real rock-steady solid guy in the parish and in the club.

“He carried the hurleys for us in the senior team. If you were looking for a dig out to make 15 v 15 in an internal game he’d tog out and play and was as competitive as ever.

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“He was a really good guy in the community. He has young kids now and was involved in training the underage in the club.

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Galway selector Richie O’Neill speaks to the media before the Cork game.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“One of those guys you need around in every club and for something like that to happen is just unthinkable really, for his wife Aoife and his four kids it’s unthinkable.

“It makes you rethink things definitely. We all get caught running around, stressing about things that maybe aren’t worth stressing about.

“In Ballyhale, when I was there for the two years there were other tragedies (as well). We used to say that life can be cruel but sport is our outlet.”

Originally published at 10.00

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