Brian Cody says it would be “absolutely a disaster” were any Kilkenny or Limerick player to be ruled out of Sunday week’s All-Ireland final by contracting Covid.
Precautions such as outdoor, social distancing interviews were being taken at the Kilkenny pre-final press event in Langton’s Hotel as Cody and the county executive did their best to ensure the manager and two players, Paddy Deegan and Eoin Murphy, speaking at it were not exposed to the virus any more than they had to be.
Asked about how vital it is to keep Covid out of the camp ahead of the game, Cody remarked: “Oh God, it’s hugely important. And it’s there again in abundance, if you like, and it’s a concern, and it’s a worry. Players have been massively vigilant up until this and absolutely will continue to be. This media event is happening outdoors just to ensure safety again for everybody.
“It would be absolutely a disaster for anybody from either Kilkenny or Limerick to have an issue with Covid coming up to the final, because that would be just too cruel for anybody.”
From the return to play after the first lockdown in 2020, Kilkenny have been regularly tested and checked temperatures at training. Cody continued: “We’ve been vigilant the whole time, to be fair. We have been very conscious of the whole thing, our doctor Dr Tadhg Crowley is a top man and he knows exactly the potential for things to go wrong and the players are intelligent young lads. They have been very aware, they steer away from any stuff that is in any way going to inhibit their chances of being there for All-Ireland final day.”
Conor Fogarty remains the only injury concern for Kilkenny, Cody reported: “Conor Fogarty was injured for the last day, he’s still not fully recovered so we just don’t know for certain how he’ll be. Did a little bit of hurling at the weekend, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
Both Kilkenny and Limerick have had issues with decisions made by final referee Colm Lyons during the championship. While Lyons harshly dismissed Gearóid Hegarty in the Clare-Limerick round-robin game in Ennis, Cody exchanged words with the official after the Leinster group defeat to Galway in Pearse Stadium when he awarded the home side a late free, which won the game.
Cody expects the Cork native will be out to impress like every player. “Colm Lyons reffing the game... the reality is the players, managers, referees, they all make mistakes and honest mistakes are fine and you can’t do anything about that," added Cody.
“It’s Kilkenny and Limerick’s All-Ireland final, it’s the players’ All-Ireland final but it’s also his All-Ireland final. He’s going out to perform to the maximum level of his ability and he’s going to go out with a proper agenda to represent himself obviously and the game the way it should be and that’s it.
“We all get excited on the sideline and during a game and you see something (and say) ‘Jeez, that shouldn’t have been blown” or ‘that should have been blown’. That happens but at the end for the day you have to have massive respect for all the referees who are there because it’s not an easy position to be in.
“It won’t be easy for the players taking on each other but he is taking on everything, he has huge responsibility and a huge realisation that a decision from him could actually decide the game. So he’s going to be absolutely flat out to do his level best and that’s all anyone can ask for.”