Cody eyes Champions League-style All-Ireland

Brian Cody has called for a Champions League-style All-Ireland senior hurling championship.

Kilkenny’s 10-time All-Ireland winning manager believes the competition would be better served with games staged on a home and away basis.

Cody’s James Stephens clubmate Tommy Lanigan heads up the Hurling Development Committee, who are proposing that from 2014 the Munster and Leinster championships comprise five teams with each played two games at home and away.

The Central Competitions Control Committee have also put forward a recommendation and Central Council have delayed choosing one to put forward as a motion to Congress.

However, Cody sees plenty of value in all Liam MacCarthy Cup teams being given the opportunity to play Championship games at home.

“What happens at present is very good. I would love a Champions League type hurling championship though; I said that a few years ago,” he said.

“When things are going good, I think that is the time to always try and improve it. Things are good at the moment and that is the time to think ‘Right, how can we make things better?’ and I think that if you can bring something new and exciting into the game I think the spectators will respond.

“The idea of home and away Championship matches between counties is very appealing.”

Cody has also questioned the practicality of video technology in Gaelic games. The Hawk-Eye score detection system is set to begin its long-awaited two-year trial basis at Croke Park on St Patrick’s Day for the All-Ireland senior club finals.

However, Cody has reservations about just how useful the initiative will be to the GAA as a whole.

“I don’t think it is possible to go down the route of video technology very easily. There is so much involved in it,” he told Primary Planet magazine.

“The GAA is more than the big matches on All-Ireland day. The GAA is about clubs also. There are club games going on all over the country every weekend. So, no I don’t think it is possible.”

Cody is once again facing into a league campaign without the services of hurler of the year Henry Shefflin.

The Ballyhale Shamrocks man is unlikely to return until the middle to later part of Kilkenny’s Division 1A campaign as pins are placed into his left foot this week.

Cody said he is reluctant to give his opinion on the 33-year-old, who has started in every Championship game of his 14-year term, while Shefflin is still available to him.

“Henry’s career is still on and I wouldn’t talk about players in that way while they are still playing. Some people consider him to be the greatest. I will make a definitive statement about that when he retires.”

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