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Wednesday 12 December 2018

Cody salutes greatest day

KILKENNY boss ranks dethroning Premier as best achievement.

NEWTON'S law of motion states that to every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. And for a hurling force of nature like this Kilkenny team, the only surprise of the ferocity of yesterday's Black-and-Amber backlash was that anyone had doubted it in the first place.

Attempting to rank the level of satisfaction of the achievement of winning so many All-Irelands has always led Brian Cody to surmise that the most recent success was the only one that counted.

But yesterday, when he proclaimed without hesitation that the victory over Tipperary “by far our best achievement, without a shadow of a doubt” – you didn't doubt him for a second.

Doubt. It's a strange affliction for |a team as successful as Kilkenny or |a manager as all-conquering as |Cody, but such was the level of their performances over the past decade, any minor dip in brilliance was always going to be scrutinised and analysed to within an inch of its life in the search for the end of the line.

And so after losing last year's All-Ireland final and then, only four short months ago, the league decider against Dublin, the naysayers found voice.

Cody used yesterday's victory as |the opportunity to take a swipe |back and in particular, at a newspaper headline which branded his team ”Croker Chokers” just a day after that league reversal.

“The reaction was crazy,” he gasped. “I haven't read a paper since. It was a

bit of a strange thing to say about a team beaten in one championship game in six years. The choker bit ... I am not being smart but this is the kind |of rubbish that comes out of it.”

And so whoever doubted Kilkenny, it certainly wasn't their manager. |While acknowledging the merit in the theory that his team were underdogs, a situation he described as being “very much the reverse this year,” Cody was adamant that going into the final, his team were going to give a performance that did justice to their most awesome conquests in Croke Park.

“I was absolutely certain that we were going to play and we were going to perform,” he said.

“You can see it. You can smell it almost. You know when it is right. The resolve and the attitude and determination.

“We were questioned very, very much whether the thing was over for us. We were in a different place completely in the expectation levels of everybody.

“We faced an enormous challenge

because Tipperary were outstanding champions and they were turning on serious style, skill and exhibitions since then. Their ability to hurt you is immense.

“I would say for certain that the level we played at up until now all year would not have been at all sufficient to win the game today.

Phenomenal

“So it took a phenomenal effort |from everybody since the All-Ireland semi-final.”

For his part, Declan Ryan was gracious in defeat and typically, gave nothing much away about his view of the reasons Tipp relinquished their title. The notion that his team weren't as adequately ||

prepared as they had been under Liam Sheedy's watch the previous year was given short shrift, though he did accept that Kilkenny's appetite was far more obvious than his own team's.

“We were blown out of it in a couple of tackles and that's maybe down to attitude and hunger,” he sighed.

“Kilkenny have shown over the last five years that they have savage hunger and they showed it today.

“We haven't done anything different today than we have done all year,” he continued. “For guys who have played so well and trained so hard over the last six to eight weeks it's difficult to put a finger on it.”

For Cody, the fact that Tipperary managed to rattle themselves back into the shakeup over the home stretch and that his team managed to see it out made the sweetest victory of them all even sweeter.

“I'm glad we were tested to our limits,” he said proudly. “I think that is what these players have been doing for the last number of years.

“I think it is a wonderful testament to them.”

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