With the recent retirement of Henry Shefflin from inter county hurling, I decided to take a look at some at the statistics of his career. There’s no doubting his amazing career with 10 All Ireland championships, highest scorer in the championship (27-484), 11 All Star awards and three time hurler of the year. So with all these accolades and such a great scoring record, how does any team stop him? As it turns out not well for most teams. The chart below shows Henry Shefflin’s winning percentage against each of the counties in his career. Of the eleven counties he has played against, six have not won a match against him and only two have beaten him more than once.
Henry Shefflin holds a record of 59 wins, 8 losses and 4 draws. And no county holds a winning record against him. Cork are the closest with 3 wins against Kilkenny while he was playing (57.14%). It is also worth noting that Galway have the second lowest win percentage (61.54%) but with the most games played at 13. He has lost three times and drawn twice against Galway in his career. Although both the draws have been followed up by wins so there is some bit of delaying the inevitable involved. Dublin have also beaten and drawn against Kilkenny in recent times but Henry Shefflin did not play in either of those matches.
The next chart further displays how teams defended against Henry Shefflin. It shows the points he scored on average against each county over his career. Cork and Tipperary have the lowest with 5 points per game and 5.22 points per game respectively. This is not surprising as Cork were one of the strongest teams at the early stages of his career and Tipperary during the later stages.
However its worth noting that 3 of the 9 games played against Tipperary were substitute appearances. Significantly less points will be scored when a player comes off the bench. When only games where he started are used in the calculation, points per game against Tipperary rises from 5.22 to 7.83. Meanwhile Cork has not changed and remained at 5 points per game. Another Interesting change is that Galway have now risen to the most points against per team with 10.45, ahead of Offaly (10.125 ppg) and Laois (10 ppg). This seems to go along with the way Galway have played in recent times scoring prioritizing over defence and wins coming from outscoring teams rather than lowering an opponents scoring output.
So it seems Cork were the best team against Henry Shefflin over his career holding the best winning percentage and the best points against per game. There are two things I feel that contribute to this. The first is that Cork and Kilkenny usually play against each other in the latter stages of the All Ireland season. If Cork have survived this long they have probably got a good team out on the field. The second is a cheeky red card that Henry Shefflin received two years ago down in Thurles. That game may have impacted the stats…… just a bit.