“He’s very fast, very direct and he’s very strong as well.”
Billy Ryan is one Kilkenny player who has caught the eye of Henry Shefflin. Ryan scored 1-4 from play against Wexford in Kilkenny’s last match and he is just back from an injury lay-off.
Shefflin feels that Ryan is the type of player that has the ability to trouble the Limerick defensive unit.
Ryan is able to win the ball and turn a defender and Shefflin compared him to Dublin Gaelic footballer Con O’Callaghan.
Kilkenny were the last team to beat Limerick in a knock-out match.
“Billy Ryan being back last week was a massive plus. He’s been injured a lot of the time. He adds something different; he’s very fast, very direct, and he’s very strong as well,” Shefflin said.
“And when you look at the Limerick team, they’re the kind of players that can trouble a Limerick defence because that’s what you have to be.
“The direct play is the interesting one because so many forwards now are playing in front of themselves, while Billy is one of those players – and there’s not many of them around. I know myself, I was more of playing in front of my (opponent) style player.
“I think those players who can get a ball and turn – look at Con O’Callaghan in football, he’s the one who springs to mind straight away – they are the dangerous players.
“I think he has that in his locker, so it’s to get him injury-free and get him a run of it. It was good to see him back last week.”
Shefflin says that Kilkenny are still one of the best teams in Ireland.
Shefflin believes that Galway are the best-positioned team to challenge Limerick’s throne. But the former Kilkenny star believes that his own county are in a strong position.
TJ Reid scored 1-18 against Wexford and Shefflin feels that Reid’s form could be a huge factor in Kilkenny’s fortunes this season.
“I actually think Galway are probably next, after Limerick, but I think Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford probably (are challengers) – I think Kilkenny would be just slightly below Galway, to be honest. I would rank Galway next, but I think Kilkenny are very much there,” Shefflin said.
“Obviously the form of TJ (Reid) and the way TJ is playing is one of the major things, and I think the changes they’ve made – they’ve new backroom teams in, there’s a bit of freshness to their play last Sunday, so I think they won’t be too far away.