KILKENNY star Richie Power is adamant that Brian Cody will return for a 13th season at the county’s helm in 2011.
Win or lose, Cody has always taken a number of months to take stock after each season and Power yesterday insisted that the most successful manager in hurling will be patrolling the sidelines in the New Year.
Power said: “Oh definitely. I have no doubt that he will (be back). We’re all hoping he does stay on. I think there is only one player, Michael Kavanagh, that has played under a different manager, in 1998 under Kevin Fennelly.”
He continued: “Brian’s record speaks for itself. I am sure he is planning for next year. The defeat will have hit him hard and hurt him as much as it hurt the players.
But he will be back stronger and will definitely freshen things up next year. I have no doubt that things will be a lot better.”
Cody has undeniably been the mastermind behind Kilkenny’s astonishing success rate this last decade but Henry Shefflin has been his on-field general in that era and the Ballyhale man’s future is deemed to be no less important.
Shefflin lasted just 13 minutes of the All-Ireland final against Tipperary before succumbing to his much-debated cruciate knee ligament injury and Power echoed Cody’s backing of the legendary attacker to make a full recovery.
“Henry was unfortunate after what he put his body through to get himself right to play in that All-Ireland. I don’t think anyone will ever know the full extent that he pushed himself to. Just like John Tennyson. I have no doubt that he will come back stronger than ever because that is the way Henry is. He has proven that over previous years. He came back stronger than ever after his last cruciate operation.”
Shefflin’s exit was a major blow in Kilkenny’s attempt to clinch an historic five-in-a-row but Power never mentioned it as a factor in the defeat yesterday and focused instead on Tipperary’s hunger before declaring that they were more than worthy winners on the day.
“I haven’t looked at the game since. It was a disappointing end to the year but we are after having a fantastic time of it. We can’t make any complaints or any excuses. Tipperary were by far the better team on the day. It brought me back to 2006 and how we were against Cork. The hunger was there and they were savage for it and fair play to them they thoroughly deserved it. When you are beaten by a better team you have no complaints. But it was hard to take.
“The whole five-in-a-row thing was there at the back of everyone’s mind. It would have been nice, but I don’t think we will ever see another attempt at it, or I won’t anyway.”
Having lost out on one five-in-a-row, Power will be doing his best to prevent another in the weeks to come asBallyhale Shamrocks are zeroing in on a quintet of successive county titles to emulate that claimed by his own Carrickshock during World War Two.
“It’s an incentive for us to stop them. There’s great rivalry there. It’s all friendly banter. It would be nice to stop them but we have to manoeuvre past Erin’s Own first (in the semi-final on Sunday week) if we want to get a shot at them.”
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