Henry Shefflin waits in the tunnel to shake the hand of every Kilkenny player after Leinster final 2 months ago

Henry Shefflin waits in the tunnel to shake the hand of every Kilkenny player after Leinster final

Kilkenny 0-22 Galway 0-17

Kilkenny have won their third Leinster championship in a row after one of the worst provincial finals in living memory.

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Galway were the fancied team coming into this one but aside from Conor Whelan, Jack Grealish and Darren Morrissey, there isn't another Galway player who will remember this game with any sort of fondness.

That's because the Tribesmen were lacklustre, they were listless and, for most of the second half, they were stuck to the ground as Kilkenny duo and O'Loughlin Gaels club-mates Mikey Butler and Paddy Deegan swept up all around them and, in doing so, inspired their county to another provincial crown.

But despite the big build-up, the Shefflin-Cody-talk and all the anticipation for a good game, this is a final that will do well if it sees the light of day again. The Ulster football final received plenty of criticism last week but at least that had a bit of tension. This, on the other hand, was a damp squib that, resembling more of a free-taking contest than a game of hurling, had an air of inevitability about it when there was still a half an hour left to play.

That air of inevitability was based around the suspicion that Kilkenny were going to win. And that Galway, like they have done too often down through the years, were going to disappoint when something big was expected of them.

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Amidst all the shadow-boxing, Adrian Mullen, to be fair to him, stood out with four fine points from midfield but the real match-winner, you'd have to say, was the great TJ Reid.

There has been much speculation and plenty of rumours about the Ballyhale man's demise in recent months but all he needed was 70 minutes to show that those rumours have been greatly exaggerated. The 34-year-old caught puck-outs at will in that second half as, like he has done so many times before, he stood up for Kilkenny when the game was there to be won.

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If he had any sort of help in attack, we could be saying the same thing about Conor Whelan - he scored four brilliant points from play, one as good as the next - but every other Galway forward was subdued. And Kilkenny just ground their way to a victory that nobody will be writing home about.

Saying that, there was always going to be something to say about what went on after the final whistle. That was when Brian Cody went onto the field to shake the hand of almost every single player and official on the pitch.

All the while, Henry Shefflin stood on the sideline with his management team. He didn't chase after Cody like he did the last time in Pearse Stadium and, given the way that one went, you could hardly blame him for that. Eventually the pair did shake hands as Shefflin made the move across to his old mentor but it was the sight afterwards that will linger in the memory.

That was the sight of Shefflin waiting in the tunnel to shake the hand of every Kilkenny player that walked off the field.

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And that's a true measure of the man - the king - that is Henry Shefflin.