Tuesday 16 January 2018

Cody won't scapegoat full-back line despite record concession

Kilkenny’s Joey Holden gets the sliotar away. Pic: Sportsfile
Kilkenny’s Joey Holden gets the sliotar away. Pic: Sportsfile

Brian Cody won't be joining any queue to scapegoat his full-back line as the inevitable post-mortems begin into Kilkenny's failed quest for three-in-a-row.

The 2-29 shipped to a rampant Tipperary was a record concession during Cody's 18-year reign, just eclipsing the 4-22 leaked to Clare in their league semi-final last April, as well as the 5-18 scored by Galway in 2005 and the 1-28 tallied by Tipp in the drawn All-Ireland final of 2014.

Kilkenny's embattled full-back line found itself in the firing line, coughing up 2-15 from play (and 2-21 in total) to Tipp's deadly inside trio of Séamus Callanan, John O'Dwyer and John McGrath.

But, speaking the day after the nightmare before, Cody insisted it would be wrong and "cheap" if his full-back Joey Holden and two corner men, Paul Murphy and Shane Prendergast, were blamed for this nine-point defeat.

"They won't be scapegoated by us," the Kilkenny boss declared. "I would hate to think that would happen. That's the simplest thing in the world to do. It's a very, very kind of, em, cheap sort of analysis of the game if that's (what is said)."

He added: "At the end of the day it doesn't really matter what anyone thinks. I know what I think and we win together; we get beaten together; we attack together; we defend together.

"Our full-back line had been heroic and were manful to the very end as well, as were all our players."

Cody also dismissed the widespread commentary that his panel is now stretched by a serious lack of options. "It's an opinion, people's opinion," he demurred. "They want to compare teams with other teams and all the rest of it.

"But if we won the last two All-Ireland finals and we were beaten in this year's All-Ireland final - with a poor panel - that's fair going.

"You'd have to wonder about how we do it, to be honest about it, because it couldn't be done. We've just been speaking about injuries, fellas who we could have had and didn't, so that's a reflection on our panel and our panel has done this for us.

"And there are players on our panel who haven't been seen yet who will be top players - and quickly. You can rest assured of that."

Regarding his own future, Cody said he'll be "very slow to make my mind up, as ever" but the presumption is that the 11-time All-Ireland winner will be back for a 19th season.

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