All Ireland Hurling Final: 'Nowlan Park life is all that counts for Cody'
THE last man to manage Kilkenny before Brian Cody has pinpointed a key difference between both men: Kevin Fennelly likes his golf whereas Cody cares about nothing else bar hurling.
Fennelly took charge for just one campaign - 1998 - but quit after the Cats lost the All-Ireland SHC final to Offaly.
Seventeen years later, asked if he ever regretted leaving, he admitted: "I wouldn't say it never crossed my mind. Maybe for a year or two after.
"I came for the All-Ireland the following year, we were beaten by a point and I thought we should have won it against Cork on a wet day. I was a bit disappointed going home that evening but, after that, no.
"When I saw Brian stepping into the job I thought that he was much more suited," he added, "because if I'd a game of golf or something on in the evening, I'd like to be there. Brian's only interested in the one thing: hurling and being in Nowlan Park. To stay at it as long as he did without deviating, that's his biggest strength and what sets him apart from the rest of us."
Fennelly recalled how current chairman Ned Quinn was among the interview panel when he got the job. "They said, 'What do you think, Kevin?' I said, 'We're going to win the All-Ireland.' And he said, 'When?' I said, 'This year - when else?'
"The lads didn't think I was serious. But I was serious. Two or three well-known fellas rang me when I got the job and asked me was I mad, that this team was going nowhere. I was saying Kilkenny should win every All-Ireland.
"It came quickly. The year after I trained them we were hot favourites to win the All-Ireland whereas the year before we were nowhere. That's how quickly it changed in Kilkenny. The talent was always there."