'As far as I'm concerned, there is no gospel'
WHEN Kilkenny beat Cork in the 2006 All-Ireland final, the one that began their famous four-in-a-row, Brian Cody pointed out how it had been perpetuated that he and his team were somewhat antiquated.
That his methods, his team preparation, and Kilkenny's style had been overtaken by Cork's more sophisticated possession game.
The empire struck back.
"Every time somebody wins the All Ireland final, everybody talks about 'this is it', as if hurling has changed forever and I never see it that way," he says now in an almost identical position, re-installed in an All-Ireland final after a season of upheaval for Kilkenny and hurling in 2013.
"I have been asked that many times since the All-Ireland final last year, like suddenly we have a new game on our hands. I never bought into that.
"I have seen that happen over the years where suddenly this is now the way to be hurling.
"As far as I'm concerned, there is no Gospel. We don't have the Gospel, and nobody else has the Gospel either.
"There's players that play the game and you try and get players to play to their strengths.
"Different players have different strengths. Different players make up different teams and therefore the team acquires different strengths and the team goes ahead.
"And you try and play the game that will suit you.
"Regardless of the great tactics you might face, the game takes on a life of it's own.
"I don't think the fundamentals ever change, and the great things haven't changed."
Still, leaving Thurles last year beaten a full three rounds shy of an All-Ireland final, Cody must have felt he had a greater work load than at any other point in his spectacularly successful reign.
"There's always work. Even when you win the All Ireland final, as happened previously, you'd always realise there's work to be done for the following year.
"We were knocked out last year by Cork and as the weeks go by and the months go by you'll be looking at things and seeing where we are with the team and the panel. You always like to strengthen things."
Of Tipp's surprisingly handy semi-final win over Cork (in steep contrast to Kilkenny's war with Limerick in the typhoon), Cody reckoned:"It was very clear that Tipperary were going to win the game from 15 minutes in, at least, and they probably looked like winners from before that as well. They were obviously very impressive.
"Coming in to the game, it was being looked upon as a 50/50 game.
"But Tipperary were comprehensive winners really. Cork are a quality team. They have proven that. They're Munster champions. So the fact that Tipp won convincingly shows the quality they have."