Why Brian Cody's killer instinct is still key for Cats
There is nothing 'barbaric' in Brian's quest to dominate the opposition
KILKENNY have won far more All-Ireland finals than they've lost under Brian Cody - and even when they come up short, they usually die with their boots on.
The day that doesn't happen, and they accept their losing fate without a fight, their veteran boss will have a good hard look at himself.
And maybe that's the ultimate secret behind their run of ten Liam MacCarthy triumphs under Cody: he refuses to accept defeat and so refuses to accommodate players who do.
"It would be a shame to think that you would ever go out kind of softly," he explained, speaking ahead of his 14th All-Ireland SHC final as manager (16th including replays) against Galway next Sunday.
"Of course we've been beaten, and we'll always be disappointed when we're beaten. But you've got to give it everything ... the mission is, the challenge is, to be absolutely competitive.
"And if you're less than that, then you've got to look at reasons why. And if your team doesn't show a real spirit on the day, I think the manager has to look at himself and wonder why?"
For all his renowned ferocity of resolve, Cody moved to clarify comments made during a UCD speech last January where he was quoted thus: "You should never say you're prepared to die to win. You should always be prepared to kill to win a game. That's the difference."
Speaking at the Kilkenny press night, he said: "It's something that could be misinterpreted very, very easily. It's just, a killer instinct is something that has always been spoken about - whether it be in business or sport, or whatever it is.
"Do you want to win? Yeah, of course I want to win. How badly do you want to win? I want to win completely, and I'll do everything in my power to try to win it.
"And you can dress up that as cliché or colloquialism or call it what you will, and that's all it is. Killing is something that may sound a bit barbaric to some people, but in the context of sport you go out to try to dominate - to dominate your player, get your team to dominate.
"But that's exactly what the other team are trying to do as well," he stressed, "and I'd hate to think that anyone might think that we would ever try to do anything that would be in any way barbaric!"
Speaking of the opposition, he expects a ferocious Galway challenge in every respect next Sunday. He waxed lyrical about their recent semi-final against Tipperary, when they reached "seriously impressive" levels.
"They played us in a Leinster final in 2012 and I wouldn't like to meet a more aggressive team, to be honest," he recalled. "Their fire that day, their determination - and aggressive is a good word, it's genuine aggression, determination, drive, closing down players, all of that."