Being managed by some of Kilkenny’s biggest legends, Evan Shefflin finds himself in a position all young hurlers must envy.
At club level, the 19-year-old is trained by 10-time All Ireland winner, Henry Shefflin, who happens to be his uncle while moving to inter-county level, the younger Shefflin is currently the captain of the U20s side managed by DJ Carey.
For good measure, the Ballyhale Shamrocks man is also part of the extended senior panel and so can add Brian Cody to the list of his hurling influences.
Shefflin admits that both his managers are very similar and their wealth of experience is not lost on the players.
“It’s DJ Carey, he knows what he’s talking about, so whenever he talks you shut up and you listen to him. You take on board whatever he says to you, it’s as simple as that.
“He’s very watchful and just takes it all in. Obviously, he’ll intervene if he has to, if it’s not good enough or whatever, but he just lets us hurl away. I think you kind of need that sometimes, just let lads go at each other for a while.
“If it’s not up to standard, he’ll come in and give us a bollocking, and we go back at it again. He’s very insightful and he sees everything, so he’s not going to miss much. You’re fooling no-one out there but yourself.”
Shefflin can have no complaints about his uncle’s stewardship at club level after the 40-year-old guided Ballyhale Shamrocks to an All Ireland title in his first year in charge, even if the family connections don’t earn him any bonus points.
“I think that works against you sometimes!”, laughed Shefflin at the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-20 Provincial Championship Finals preview.
“Henry tries to be hands-on, and obviously DJ does as well, but there’s only a certain amount a manager can do on his own. There’s a lot of work put into it, I know myself, my father has managed teams before, and there’s a lot of work that goes into it.
“I think taking a step back is probably the right thing to do at times, and then if he has to jump in, he will. I think that’s a good thing as well.”
Shefflin will lead the Kilkenny U20s out this evening (Wednesday) in their Leinster final clash with Wexford in Innovate Wexford Park.
The Cats have already been burned by Wexford at senior and minor level and Shefflin and Co. will be hoping they don’t make it a hattrick.
One of the players involved on Leinster final day in Croke Park was Adrian Mullen who has shone for Kilkenny since his introduction following Ballyhale’s successful run.
Shefflin is well aware of his county and club teammate’s ability having had the misfortune to mark him at training through the years.
“Adrian, that was always the way he was, always looking ahead. Whether it was playing U14, he’d have an eye on U16. I don’t know what he’s going to do when he eventually gets to fully senior level. He’s a fantastic talent.
“I, unfortunately, have to mark him a lot, which brings me on at the same time. Yesterday [Sunday], things didn’t always go his way, but he will work a savage amount, it’s a huge part of his game.
“He’s a brilliant hurler with a great hurling brain, and whether he hurls well or not, he works hard. But when he does hurl well, it really clicks for him and he can put performances like that under his belt. He’ll be around for a long time to come.”
Throw-in on Wednesday in the Bord Gáis U20s Leinster Hurling Final is 7.30pm and the game will be shown live on TG4.