Wednesday , October 27 2021

The letter from Henry Shefflin who inspired Conor McDonald


Conor McDonald hopes to inflict the first setback on Henry Shefflin's leadership career tomorrow, 12 years after a letter arrived from Shefflin who had so much influence on his own hanging ambitions.

After helping Naomh Éanna of Gorey to a first Wexford SHC title, the McDonald star matches 16-hour Kilkenny champion Ballyhale Shamrocks in the Leinster semifinals tomorrow, with former Cats legend Shefflin in opposition dugout.

McDonald met Shefflin once on the pitch when Kilkenny beat Wexford in the Allianz League 2014, but a previous meeting was even more memorable.

"I remember marking JJ Delaney and thinking" this is surreal; I can not believe this happens. "Between Rory Jacob and I, we scrambled the ball into the goal and got a massive noise, but it was short-lived: When Henry arrived, he got the biggest trouble of today.

"Sharing the plan with Henry is something I would never have thought of until it happened. He stopped and I just started. Coming home from the match the day you think about everything that the letter he sent me."

Shefflin wrote a two-page letter to the 11-year-old McDonald eight years earlier.

"It was December 2006 and we had won our first county medal and only county medal for adults. It was under 12 throw at Rapparees and I played similar to the boys at the senior team Eoin Conroy, Pádraig Doyle, Seán Doyle and Gearóid Cullen."

The letter had a big influence. McDonald would soon choose to wear only a green helmet. Black Puma Kings added to his Santy list.

"By reading it he says:" I hope you continue to improve when you grow and I'm not sure I'll look at you in Croke Park in a few years in purple and gold. "

"When you're 11 years old, if your idol says something like that for you, it's nice to drive on you."

"It's strange that the event chain has happened," said McDonald, who admired Hrid's successful transition to management.

"Everything you think about is his success: 10 County Ireland titles and three clubs across Ireland. When he goes to the other side of the line and when he tries to dictate things on the sidelines, you do not think this is his first time to handle. Getting in and winning a final in your first year is serious. It's a huge achievement for him, personally, to get such a kick start.

However, he is determined to write a chapter in the Naomh Éanna success story.

"At that moment, every game we play seems to be the most exciting in our lives. The whole city has gone berserk. We just keep thinking:" When's next, when is next. "We're just trying to win another game and hold that ball rolling. "

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