Carlow ace Coady chasing treble dream in showdown with Laois
HE is a Cody (sic) who has been leading his county's senior hurling team since 1998 and has seen, first-hand, the terrifying power of Kilkenny.
There end the similarities between Carlow hurler Edward Coady and Kilkenny's legendary manager. However, it's not a huge stretch to compare Coady and his family with the Fennelly or Power siblings.
His brothers Richard and Paul (currently injured) are also Carlow seniors and Eddie, at 34, is the county's inspirational co-captain.
He is not even sure himself when he first played senior -- "either '98 or '99, I definitely started with the Carlow juniors in '97" -- but, apart from a couple of Christy Ring medals, it is only in the past year that he's got due reward.
The pretty town of Borris celebrated wildly last February when Mount Leinster Rangers won the All-Ireland intermediate club title at Croke Park. And Coady was also in the thick of the defence when Carlow beat Westmeath to win the Division 2A title this season and promotion to Division 1B, hurling's second tier.
The big question now is can they do a treble tomorrow at Dr Cullen Park and beat arch-rivals Laois in what would be the county's first victory in the Leinster senior championship?
"That would be another big step up alright," Coady said.
Fitting hurling into his life is not easy these days. He is a qualified toolmaker who set up his own business, Celtic Automated Design. Being self-employed and a father of two makes playing inter-county a stretch, especially with Carlow's limited hurling resources.
Manager Kevin Ryan has bemoaned the small numbers at training recently, but Coady knows the players' dilemma.
"We've only six hurling clubs and to get a panel of 30 you'd need five from each of those. Some of them wouldn't have five up to inter-county standard, which means there's more from others. Our club had 10 on the panel at one point and six or seven at the moment," he revealed.
Carlow clubs get additional games by competing across the border in a special competition called the 'Kilkenny League' and Coady says that even playing junior clubs in Kilkenny demonstrates the difference in standard.
Their team tomorrow highlights their difficulties. Top of the right is Marty Kavanagh, a regular during this year's NHL. On one particular weekend Kavanagh lined out for Borris in the Leinster VS 'A' final and went to Kerry the next day with the county seniors. He's still only 17.
"That's the danger for us," Coady said. "That one good hurler in Carlow can get over-used, so we have to be very careful."