Brian Cody: No easy fixtures fix

Kilkenny hurling manager Brian Cody says he “doesn’t have the answers” to the ongoing fixture problems which have led to the formation of the Club Players Association (CPA), but says he has never asked the Kilkenny County Board to change a fixture in his time as Cats boss.

“I’ve been saying for several years on different occasions that I’d always have thought of the club scene as imbalanced,” Cody said yesterday.

“I think everyone sees that. Before the CPA ever came in, I’ve been saying for the past 10 years they should be looking at the overall calendar — but I’ve also said that I don’t have the solution, that I don’t have the time to find the solution.

“I see the club as a phenomenally important — the most important element of the Association because county players are club players. It’s hugely important.

“I don’t have the answers, but I think the solution can only be found by everyone talking together.”

Regarding suggestions the inter-county season should be run off early in the summer, with the club season starting in August, Cody added: “I don’t know. I have no expertise in dealing with fixtures, but speaking to people who have, in the Kilkenny County Board, when you start looking at weekends which are available, it presents massive challenges.

“What’s the best way to do it? I don’t know. And when you think of counties which are strong in football and hurling, obviously the problem is multiplied. I don’t think anyone has the answer to it because you can’t look at it in isolation — there has to be a coming together of club officers and people with the best interests of the whole thing at heart. And I think everybody does, there’s no need for rancour.

“Those at CPA level and in Croke Park, they have the overall interests of the thing at heart, but I hope the discussion isn’t a knee-jerk one.”

Cody said the CPA had not contacted him and if they did, he would not be involved with them: “If I were it would compromise the responsibilities I have here, and I have an acute sense of the importance of the club scene in Kilkenny. I can’t start pontificating about anybody else’s situation, but we try to be as understanding of the importance of the club matches as humanly possible. It’s not ideal, but we’re very conscious of it.”

As for the perception that some inter-county managers dominate their county’s club fixture schedules, Cody said: “I would have discussions with the county board, they come to me and essentially they take out their fixture schedule for the year, show it to me, and I don’t think I’ve ever asked them to change it. In fact, I haven’t, I’ve never asked them to change it. I just say ‘that’s fine’, and we work away. Once you know where you’re going, that’s it.”

Kilkenny will be missing some big names for Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League opener against Waterford.

“We’ll be short a fair amount of players,” said Cody.

“Some lads are playing Fitzgibbon but others are injured — Michael Fennelly, Colin Fennelly, Ger Aylward are lads who would have been regulars before. Walter Walsh and Kevin Kelly have hamstring injuries and may not be available. There are more. Ger Aylward is close, he has a nice bit of training done, he’s in good shape and it’s a matter of game time. Colin Fennelly had a procedure on his nose, he had an issue which affected his breathing and the nature of the surgery means he can’t take contact training for another few weeks at least.”

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