Thursday 27 October 2016

'This is not a thing that I have to do - or stay doing'

Cody insists fundamentals of the game can't change

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody believes the basics of hurling don’t change. Picture credit: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Kilkenny manager Brian Cody believes the basics of hurling don’t change. Picture credit: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Brian Cody is no indentured slave-driver. For all their glory, he makes the the job of creating, maintaining and recreating consistently the best hurling team in the country over almost two decades sound wonderfully simple.

If there is hardship in inter-county management, Cody doesn't wear it.

"I don't have to do this, like," he shrugs.

"This is not something that I have to do or stay doing. Whatever it is, it's my choice.

"If I choose to do something with my life that's going to be a terrible sort of negative thing for me or stressful thing for me, I wouldn't be very clever…and I'm not that stupid."

You wouldn't be inclined to argue with him here, either.

"So I do it because I enjoy doing it and to be involved at this level at this part of the year coming up to the All-Ireland final, it's a grand thing to be involved with," he goes on.


"We'll carry on and I'll be involved in my club as well. It's my sport and the sport I'm involved with but I just carry on as normal.

"It's a very, very normal part of my life and that's it."

Cody's normality has changed somewhat.

Last year, he retired from his job as principal of St Patrick's, De La Salle in Kilkenny City, though he notes: "I don't seem to be at a loose end. I don't seem to be hanging around, 'What will I do today?'

Everything about how his teams have reshaped the honours list in hurling is beyond normal, yet Cody brings his own inherent normality to it.

To dissect some of the tangled barbs of tactical nuance which have dominated the conversation about this hurling season is to consider the sport to be in the throws of a revolution.

Yyet Cody remains sure the basic principles underpinning the whole movement haven't altered nearly so drastically.

"I am not saying it's the same game as it was 10 or 15 years ago," he outlined.

"I am saying the fundamentals of the game can't change as far as I'm concerned.

"You can line out your team whatever way you want but at the same time the requirements are skill, fitness, physical strength, composure, nerves.

"It's a mental test always, determination, all the qualities that are always required in every team sport really. They don't ever change.

"You can line your team up in various formations, as they do in soccer, they can throw whatever different formation at it and the other team could have a different formation as well.

"And off you go and play and at the end of the day the greatest requirement of all is skill.


"For there is so many skills in a game and some of the skills that are really fundamental to the thing are never spoken about too much."

For Cody, Sunday's All-Ireland final opponents prove his argument.

"Again, what do you see when you see Tipperary?," he asks.

"You just see brilliant hurlers. There's some different personnel in there than there had been for a few years.

"Some great players they had have gone as well but the skill level is serious.

"They have everything that's required in a team.

"How good are they? They're excellent, I'd say."

We may be totally accustomed to Kilkenny's presence in these sort of weeks but Cody carries the gait of man who is never anything but thrilled to be involved.

"I'm still carrying on as I always did."

Same Cody. Same Kilkenny.

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