People’s opinions of Kilkenny vary, Brian Cody accepts, and they will alter after this result.
But the Cats’ boss doesn’t care.
It wasn’t so long ago when some were claiming that Cody wasn’t the man to lead the reconstruction project in Kilkenny but what transpired in Nowlan Park yesterday flew in the face of that theory.
“With all due respect to everyone, it doesn’t ever concern me what anyone’s opinion is about Kilkenny,” he said.
“I think we look after the thing ourselves in our own place, and everyone has an opinion.
“The great thing about everyone’s opinion is that it can change today, whereas our opinion is tested the whole time and you have to deliver on it. So it doesn’t matter from anyone’s point of view.
“Pundits predict and everything else. And if they’re wrong, it doesn’t matter because they can go again. But if we get the thing wrong, we’re beaten and rightly so. We’ve won today, but there’s a hell of a lot of hurling left ahead this year, and it’s really only starting.”
Cody always knew his side would be able to mix with it this spring regardless of the amount of young players involved.
“I knew we were going to be competitive. There were fierce hard matches in the league. We had to go to Waterford, Tipperary were coming here, Wexford were coming here. To stay alive in the thing first of all (was the priority). When we did that, with terrific application as well, then we had a quarter-final, which was a savage battle above in Offaly. Again then we had the same last Sunday down in Wexford Park (in the semi-final).
“So (we were) tested every single day we went out. Did I know we were going to pass all those tests? I didn’t, but I knew we were going to be very very competitive, and that we’d be hard to beat.”
How could he explain how such a green group could show such maturity as did they yesterday?
“I think it requires ambition to become part and parcel of it, you have to decide exactly what you want to do with your sporting career. You can play club hurling, can play away, or you can challenge yourself to see where you can go in this game. ‘Can I get to the next level and the next level is the top level which is senior inter-county?’
“It would be hard to imagine anyone walking into an intercounty dressing room at 19, 20, 21 years of age and only giving 90% or 99%. You want to give everything you have. That’s the reality that happens everywhere.”
Cody played down Kilkenny’s excellent Nowlan Park record as a factor and added he hadn’t given a second’s thought to the trip to Australia that will now be offered to his Division 1 champions.
On the return of Defence Forces’ Colin Fennelly and Paul Murphy from a tour of duty, he hopes to see them back before the start of the Leinster SHC although back injury victim Richie Hogan is another matter.
“The work he’s putting in is absolute. But he has a medical condition, an issue with his back, and it’s definitely not sorted yet.”
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