Cody thrilled with spirit and workrate of players he trusts completely

The Kilkenny manager was particularly pleased with his side's first half effort
Cody thrilled with spirit and workrate of players he trusts completely

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody shakes hands with Tommy Walsh of Kilkenny after their side's victory in the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Kilkenny and Clare at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Kilkenny boss Brian Cody paid tribute to his side’s spirit - the panel’s spirit, which is what he always seeks to build.

“Up to the Leinster final we were playing more or less every week, which gives limited time - no time, really - for training.

“We have great emphasis on our panel at all times, so that gave a chance to everyone on the panel to get out there and work for the team, to put their hands up to make a claim for a starting place.

“I know everyone wants to talk about a settled team, but I make clear that I’m only interested in a settled panel, everyone fighting for their place and knowing if we put them on - who knows what team we’ll pick for the next day, but it’s whatever team we pick is the right team to pick.

“It’s about having that absolute spirit in the whole panel, where everybody respects everybody else’s opportunity - that if they earn the right to play they should play.” 

Cody also applauded Clare: “Today’s performance - we were coming up to play Clare, an outstanding team who showed in the last two games, in different ways, the quality they have and the spirit they have, the real fight in their team and the skill level.

“To be in the position we were in at half-time took a huge effort - honesty, skill, application, and everything else.

“In the second half the performance dipped a bit, understandably, because when you’re that far ahead you’re watching for the final whistle, but we tacked on some great scores.

“I have absolute admiration for the way the players performed.” 

Cody reiterated his satisfaction with his players’ work rate: “When you’re on the sideline in Croke Park, particularly since there’s no maor foirne - which is a killer of a thing not to have - there’s no communication between the sideline and the players on the field, so you trust the players completely. Thank God we have players we can trust."

In reference to Adrian Mullen's ball-winning ability in the full-forward, Cody added: "That defines work rate if you like, it epitomises it. Adrian and many others are prepared to do that, but that’s what team play is about and thankfully we have that.”

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