Kilkenny great Henry Shefflin has been installed as the new manager of the Galway senior hurlers.
The appointment was ratified by the Galway GAA board on Wednesday evening .
Hurling's most decorated player, with 10 All-Ireland titles and 11 All-Stars, has been handed a three-year term. A review at the end of year two is expected. Shefflin will be joined by fellow Kilkenny man Richie O'Neill as a coach and the rest of his management team will be finalised in the coming weeks.
Shefflin said: "Managing the Galway senior hurlers presents a unique opportunity and we relish the exciting challenge ahead as we begin this journey.
"We look forward to working with the players, the county board, and the wider Galway GAA community over the coming years."
The news of the appointment did come as a significant surprise, with all recent speculation suggesting that Davy Fitzgerald would be announced as the new Tribesman boss.
Galway GAA are delighted to announce the appointment of Henry Shefflin as the new Galway Senior Hurling Manager. Statement below?? pic.twitter.com/qR0sbTE7F1— Galway GAA (@Galway_GAA) October 20, 2021
Shefflin has already made a huge impact in his fledgling managerial career.
In a two-year spell from 2017-19, Shefflin led his native Ballyhale Shamrocks to successive All-Ireland club SHC titles in his first foray on the sideline.
Shamrocks went undefeated in championship hurling in that period, winning 17 games on the spin.
More recently he has been at the helm of the Thomastown intermediate side.
During a stellar playing career, which spanned 16 years at the highest level, Shefflin also won three Hurler of the Year awards alongside his All-Ireland and All Star haul.
With hurling’s most decorated player now taking on the Galway job, it remains to be seen whether Joe Canning, who announced his retirement in July, could be tempted to reconsider his short-term future.
Fitzgerald's run of 14 consecutive seasons in charge of inter-county teams, which encompassed Waterford, Clare and Wexford, looks to be at an end.