Eoin Cody: The five-in-a-row is something we're really proud of

After creating history with the first five-in-a-row in Kilkenny, it’s clear the feat was so very special to Cody
Eoin Cody: The five-in-a-row is something we're really proud of

PRIDE: Eoin Cody of Ballyhale Shamrocks ahead of Sunday's Leinster Club final. Pic: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Eoin Cody is in rare form. It’s been a trying year for the parishes of Ballyhale, Knocktopher and Knockmoylan but Shamrocks are knocking on the door of a fourth consecutive Leinster title.

So he can smile, and he does at being able to get one back on Naas after a sketchy start in last Sunday’s semi-final having lost to them in an U16 Shield game seven years ago on a stunning scoreline of 6-12 to 0-7.

“They did hammer us and they let us know about it, really,” he remarks at the launch of Sunday’s AIB Leinster Club SHC final. “I don't think they have taken the scoreboard down yet from the game! That was something that motivated us. It was embarrassing enough from our end.” 

He can laugh about it now as he can at manager Pat Hoban for how his pal Henry Shefflin unintentionally managed to steal the focus after the county final win over James Stephens last month, despite Shefflin having stepped down as Shamrocks boss back in January 2020.

As Colin Fennelly revealed after the game, Hoban had asked Shefflin to address the players prior to the final and it was obviously deemed newsworthy. 

“Himself and Pat are great friends,” says Cody. “In fairness, I think the only cross word Pat had about that was the headlines were all about Henry again.” 

Shefflin’s message to the players was as crystal as it was when he was leading them to two All-Ireland titles. Despite all the tragedy that the club and parishes have had to endure this past year including the passing of former defender and Shefflin’s brother Paul and the motivations they might have, they had to be cool.

“If you think about it too much, you can become overrode with emotion. Henry did speak to us about not thinking about it too much and focusing on the game, that it was a game of hurling at the end of the day and emotion was not going to win it for us. You had to think about not basing it on doing it for someone but winning a game and if you win then it's great and you can think about it then, how much joy it would bring to you and the families involved and stuff.

“But Henry spoke about it one time happening to him, they ended up losing a game and how horrible it felt so (he told us) to focus on the game and everything that comes with it. At the end of the day, it's all about hurling.” 

After creating history with the first five-in-a-row in Kilkenny, Shamrocks can punctuate their 50th year with what may well have been a similar achievement in the province but for the pandemic cancelling the 2020 competition. Whatever happens this weekend, it’s clear the feat in their own county was so very special to Cody.

“The five-in-a-row is something we didn't shy away from. We spoke about it, we wanted to achieve it and we did. We're really proud of it and we're really delighted to have achieved it. It was huge for us. As a parish, as a team, as a group of players, we had been through a lot over the last couple of years and it was unbelievable and we really enjoyed it.

“For the 50 years, we had a book launch a couple of weeks ago and a lot of former players spoke and they were asked about their favourite win and they all spoke about their first county final win and how much it meant to them. But I think for this current crop of players the five-in-a-row will be the real standout. We really celebrated it on the field after with our families and the next two days. There was no nonsense, just pure enjoyment around the parish and the club.” 

Cody was impressed with how Kilmacud Crokes dismissed St Mullins last weekend. They present a firm challenge on Sunday. 

“We know what St Mullin’s are like, what they are capable of – and Crokes held them to 1-12 overall. Dominated the game, were by far the better team.

“The way they use the ball, use the space, they have plenty of legs. They’re a young, hungry team going for their first Leinster so they’re going to be very hungry.”

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