Wednesday 18 October 2017

I wouldn't have done anything differently in the final - Cody

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody. Photo: Sportsfile
Kilkenny manager Brian Cody. Photo: Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Brian Cody doesn't have the benefit of hindsight, but even if he did he admits he wouldn't have made any changes as his ailing Kilkenny full-back line were ripped to shreds by a rampant Tipperary full-forward line in last year's All-Ireland SHC final.

A whopping 2-15 from play from the trio of John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer, Seamus Callanan and John McGrath denied Cody's Cats another three-in-a-row but in the immediate aftermath he was quick to ensure his last line of defence were not made scapegoats of.

Labelling it as "cheap sort of analysis" the 11-time All-Ireland-winning manager feels it's easy for others to offer their opinion given that their thoughts will never be put into practice in the white heat of Championship.

With problems all over the pitch, most notably in defence, Cody made just two substitutions with Lester Ryan and Robert Lennon coming in on the hour mark, leaving celebrated defender Jackie Tyrrell on the sidelines, but despite suggestions that he should have implemented a sweeper system, the 62-year-old would change nothing if he had the same opportunity again.

"Looking back now? That's like saying, 'if we play them next Sunday we'll beat them'. You can't ever do that. Obviously I wouldn't have. Because I'd still be the same person there on the sideline," Cody said at Glanbia's Kilkenny sponsorship launch for 2017.

"The game would still be the same game. You never have the benefit of hindsight. I've no sense that I would have done anything differently. At all, to be honest about it. We were beaten because Tipperary were the better team. That's the way sport goes.

"You don't win that game… it's not because of anything we did or didn't do. They were just better than us. Better than us on the day. You just say 'well done' and that's it, the game is over. You can't do anything about it. You can never replay it.

"You can talk about it, rationalise it, fellas come up with all sorts of theories - 'if we had done this, or they hadn't done this, or if something else hadn't have happened' - but you can't impact on the way the game went.

"People give their opinion on it but their team would never have to be tested - people who say that, I have no problem with that. Before I became manager of Kilkenny I had ideas too, 'this should have happened, that should have happened'.

"It was easy for me to say because I never had to prove I was right or wrong. That has never had an impact on me because we're charged with the responsibility of who plays and who doesn't, and how we play.

"The game is played, the final whistle is blown and you can never change it. And you can never find out at all if things had been done differently, would things have happened differently. You never know that."

He has watched September's final just once over the winter, acknowledging that "lessons can be learned" but he's quite philosophical about defeat and "can still get on with my life. I don't go around in a fit of depression over it or anything, as if I can't face anything forever over it."

With the Walsh Cup already in the bag their search for League silverware commences with Waterford the visitors to Nowlan Park on Sunday in a repeat of last year's epic semi-final replay and Cody expects the Déise to push on again in 2017.

"They are targeting an All-Ireland final. That's what's in their heads, you can be sure. They see themselves of that quality. Which they are. No doubt about that. They are right at the top there in hurling," he said.

Irish Independent

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