Brian Cody must stay, says Eddie Brennan

Kilkenny great Eddie Brennan believes it’s virtually ‘guaranteed’ that Brian Cody will continue for a remarkable 20th year in charge of the Cats.
Brian Cody must stay, says Eddie Brennan

Cody has yet to confirm his plans for 2018 after enduring the worst Championship

campaign since taking over in late 1998. The 11-time All-Ireland winning manager was powerless to prevent his side slipping to high-profile defeats to Wexford and Waterford.

The latter loss came in a Round 2 qualifier on July 8 and represented Kilkenny’s earliest departure from the Championship under Cody.

It was also the first time they’d failed to at least contest an All-Ireland quarter-final under his guidance and they didn’t play a game at Croke Park either.

Cody has typically waited until mid-November to confirm his plans for the following season and Brennan, who won eight All-Irelands under the James Stephens man, believes he’ll definitely stay.

“Guaranteed, he’ll be there,” said Brennan. “I just don’t see it happening that he’ll go. I haven’t spoken to him, and I don’t know any of the ins and outs, but I just don’t see it happening. I think it would be a mistake as well if it did happen, because he’s

the right man to lead them forward.

“Maybe it’ll be a different approach they take, but certainly Brian is the man to lead them forward again.”

Brennan, who has guided Kilkenny’s U21s to Saturday’s Bord Gais Energy All-Ireland final against Limerick in Thurles, was working as a television analyst at last Sunday’s senior final, won by Galway.

He said that a number of Kilkenny’s players who under-performed this year, particularly the forwards, will have to seriously examine their “attitude and application” if they’re to reel in the Tribesmen next year.

“I think there’s a lot of guys in that Kilkenny senior set-up and they’ll have to have a good look at themselves over the winter,” said Brennan.

“They’ll have to say: ‘Am I getting the most out of myself? Am I really putting it in?’ And that’s where it lies. I think if they come back in and buy into the system, they certainly have the hurling, but it’s about attitude. For me, attitude and application are the two key words if you’re going to be an inter-county player.

“It’s all very well performing and coming up short, you can accept that, but we probably haven’t performed this year, not with consistency.

“That’s why I said players need to reflect on their performances, because that to me is the key to developing.

“We only had a small percentage of our players really performing. TJ Reid carried that forward unit last summer. Some of the other guys in that forward unit need to say: ‘We have to step up.’ I think you could say that of Colin Fennelly, Walter Walsh, Ger Aylward. That’s the challenge that’s in front of them. You either get stuck in or you don’t, because you can never be in a county setup and go through the motions, it’s all or nothing.”

Brennan reckons that Cody, who came up just shy of a three-in-a-row of All-Ireland titles in 2016, will fancy the challenge of stripping Galway of the crown next year.

“I think Brian will enjoy that kind of a challenge,” said Brennan. “Whatever happens on Saturday night, he will be looking to our U21 squad and saying there are plenty of hurlers in there that can come in now and compete for positions on the senior squad.”

Tipperary failed this year to retain the All-Ireland and Galway, who won titles in 1987 and 1988, will have the challenge of holding onto the MacCarthy Cup in 2018.

“I was one of the fellas that I genuinely felt that Tipp looked to be well placed to do it,” said Brennan. “But look, a lot of stuff happened this year that Micheal Ryan would have been left thinking it took from the nice smooth flowing operation that they had the previous year. And it did.

“The trick for Galway is to get back to the All-Ireland final again and the more often you put yourself into that position to win titles, the better chance you have of doing it.

“They have a serious squad. Their U21s were probably

unlucky, too, against Limerick, so they have the nucleus of a good team there.

“The question is, can they get maybe three new guys to take positions on that team and create that competitive environment again?

“I know when we were doing well, from ’06 onwards, each year there were two or three new faces getting on the team and keeping it competitive.”

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