They’re hurting now but Brian Cody has insisted Kilkenny will rise again with the help of several “top players” who the general public know little about.
The 11-time All-Ireland-winning manager displayed optimism about Kilkenny’s future despite Sunday’s crushing defeat to Tipperary and also gave a robust defence of his under-fire full-back line.
The trio of Paul Murphy, Joey Holden, and Shane Prendergast conceded 2-21 between them but Cody said blaming them for the defeat would amount to cheap analysis.
It’s understood that Cody spoke strongly at the team’s banquet on Sunday evening about the need for players to accept the nine-point defeat to Tipp with good grace and to use the pain to drive them on next season.
And Cody showed his famous determined streak yesterday when responding to the suggestion his panel lacks strength beyond the starting 15 following a series of injury and retirement setbacks.
“If we won the last two All-Ireland finals and if we were beaten in this year’s All-Ireland final with a poor panel, that’s fair going, that’s fair going alright,” quipped Cody.
“You’d have to wonder about how we do it, to be honest about it, because in reality it couldn’t be done.
“We’ve just been speaking about injuries, we’ve just been speaking about fellas who we could have had (available) but didn’t have so that’s a reflection of our panel and the reality is our panel has done this for us and got us here.
“And there are players on our panel who haven’t been seen yet who will be top players, and quickly. You can rest assured of that.”
As for criticism of the full-back line, Cody said he’d be disappointed if they were scapegoated for the surprisingly heavy defeat.
“I would certainly hope not. They won’t be scapegoated by us. I would hate to think that would happen. That’s the simplest thing in the world to do. It would be very, very cheap sort of analysis of the game if that’s (what is said).
“I haven’t heard a single piece of analysis about it, I don’t know what anyone thinks.
“And at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what anyone thinks. I know what I think and that’s that we win together, we get beaten together, we attack together, we defend together and our full-back line have been heroic and were manful to the very end yesterday as well, as were all our players.”
Cody said he couldn’t use the loss of Michael Fennelly and Ger Aylward at various stages this year through injury, as well as the enforced retirement of Richie Power, as excuses for failing to beat Tipperary.
“We can’t use it as an excuse,” said Cody. “Would you like to have everybody available? Of course, everybody would love to have everyone available.
“But it’s sport and it’s the way it is and the way the thing happens and it’s all part and parcel of the challenge. But make it very, very clear, we have no excuses about anything.”
Cody said he had “no idea” about his own future, that of his backroom team members or veteran players like Eoin Larkin, Fennelly and Jackie Tyrrell.
“That’s their call, that’s their decision,” said Cody.
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