Brian Cody happy to accept ‘functional’ criticism as Kilkenny keep eyes on the prize

It seemed it wasn’t until late yesterday morning when Leinster chairman John Horan, standing a few yards away from him, mentioned the latest charge Ger Loughnane made against Kilkenny that Brian Cody heard about it.

Launching the Leinster senior championships in Rathfarnham’s Pearse Museum on the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising leader’s hanging, Horan took a dim view of Loughnane’s assertion that the current Cats suffered from “a lack of charisma”.

Cody wasn’t in a position to respond to that latest remark from the former Clare manager but he did react to his previous comment that Kilkenny were “functional”.

“Well, I just know how I take Ger – he’s a gas man! And I enjoy Ger, and I know Ger a long time. 

“And he’ll say whatever… he might just throw anything out there just for the sake of throwing it out. 

“Also, he maybe believes what he says as well, and that’s his opinion.

“It’s a good starting point for any team to be functional, I’d say. 

“And if you ever lose that attribute, you’ll become dysfunctional very, very quickly. 

“Look, I’d have not the slightest concern about what Ger said – at all.”

Cody wasn’t certain Loughnane was paying a compliment to Kilkenny or having a dig.

“Well, you see, I don’t know what he means by it. And again, if we were to concern ourselves with what all the various people say about us, you’d be working overtime trying to figure out why did he say this or who does he think he is?”

The 11-time All-Ireland-winning manager played down Colin Fennelly’s annoyance at what Loughnane said.

“If a player is going up and he’s being asked a question, without even putting any kind of thought into it, you’ll give an answer to it. 

“I’ve never heard mentioned by any of our players, or by anybody in Kilkenny at all, around our dressing room – at all.

“Look, Ger is a very enjoyable fella and he’s a gas man really … we’ll have a chat about it sometime, maybe; he’ll tell me exactly how he thinks. But I wouldn’t think he ever tells anyone what he really thinks, anyway.”

Cody also reacted to recent remarks by another player of his, TJ Reid, who intimated Kilkenny may need to look at adopting a sweeper.

“I must have a chat with TJ to see what he has in his mind there for that,” he said before adding tongue-in-cheek, “he’s a shrewd tactician I’d say, alright, so we might get a formulative plan there. We’ll see.”

If Cody believes the heavy Division 1 semi-final defeat to Clare will require a tactical rethink, he was giving little away. 

“The fact that a league semi-final went a particular way, it’s not going to change dramatically what we’re going to be thinking about.”

The James Stephens man watched on as Clare and Waterford played out what he believed was a “very tactical” Division 1 final last Sunday. 

“What I feel about both teams; both are terrifically skilful teams. They both have skilful players on the field; huge, I think there were brilliant hurlers out there all the time. I suppose they cancel each other out to a large degree as well and there was a lot of traffic in the middle area of the field and that. 

“But look, that’s the way the game went and next Sunday will be interesting.”

As for whether more games will follow its example, he shrugged: “That’s the prerogative for everybody in charge of each team; to come up with whatever way you want to play the game and it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens.”

Cody confirmed there is no definite date on a return to action for Michael Fennelly as he minds his ongoing back injury. 

Richie Hogan’s own back problem isn’t causing him as much bother while Paul Murphy’s shoulder problem has cleared up and Eoin Larkin is working towards match fitness having played for James Stephens in his first game back last month from a tour of duty. 

Cody paid tribute to Michael Rice who exited the panel last month. 

“He had a really tough time with injuries, serious injuries he had. He gave so much on the field for so long for Kilkenny as well and the last few years have been a really tough time for him.”


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