Spillane: Counihan is the new Cody

Kerry's six-time All-Ireland SFC winner Mick Spillane says that Conor Counihan has what it takes to become the next Brian Cody.

Cody's super-charged Kilkenny side battled their way to a fourth successive All-Ireland SHC title earlier this month and Spillane feels that Cork boss Counihan can be Cody's football equivalent.

"He's got the X factor," Spillane said at the launch of the National Climate Change Campaign GAA Club Competition at Croke Park.

"To me every year brings that X factor between winning and losing an All-Ireland and as time goes by and what I see that X Factor is - and it frightens me - is Conor Counihan.

"He reminds me more and more every day of Brian Cody. He's got something.

"I'm not quite able to put my finger on it and I have a fear that is the X factor which will make a difference in Sunday's final.

"He does all of the right things and has produced a great team. The more you look at it, the more he reminds me of Brian Cody and Brian has been very successful as we know."

Cody has been one of the most successful managers in Gaelic Games history, and Spillane links Cody and Counihan as having a similar charisma about them and a positive relationship with players which enables success.

"You look at him in interviews, he's obviously very highly respected by the players and look at what he has done with the players and what he has done in interviews - he gives nothing away."

Cork have had their issues in seasons past, including striking players, but Spillane has hailed Counihan for his efforts in solidifying the Rebels panel - both physically and mentally.

"I think he has because as well as being physically able for the likes of Tyrone, you have to be mentally able for them as well.

"As Cork showed, they were mentally able for them. Kerry wouldn't have that mental ability with Tyrone, but my only hope is to counteract that, no matter what psychologist you get on board or no matter what you do - there has to be some opening.

"If Kerry get up by three or fours points there has to be a moment where the Cork players say, 'oh here we go again' - that's my hope that we get that bit of a start and maybe get that goal that is enough to put down Cork quickly."

On the Kingdom being the form team of the decade, Spillane reckons that it is easy to see why they have shown consistency with Croke Park becoming a second home to them.

"This is their second home. Kerry have always bar 2001 against Meath, played well at Croke Park.

"We may not have trained to get to National League finals in my own day, but when we got to Croke Park we always played well also.

"The aura of the place here today - I'm very tempted to go out and have a kick myself. It just brings the best out of you and that goes back to all of the tradition and everything."

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