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'Brian's an awful nice fella but that won't stop it being the usual story on Saturday'

GIVEN The Sunday Game's new-found penchant for voyeuristic intrusion into the mid-match utterings of hurling managers, what class of colourful debate might their mics pick up should they be placed in such close proximity to the sideline combatants in Portlaoise this Saturday?

'Box-office' doesn't cover it.

Anyone who watched Anthony Daly and Brian Cody exchanging 'opinions' during last year's league final and again during the Leinster SHC decider would have been enthralled and amused by the pyrotechnics which fizz from the pair when they find themselves in close, tense quarters.

It's little surprise, given that Cody has been consistently excellent through his own managerial career and indeed, the latter stages of his playing days, that Daly describes Cody as "a bit of an auld idol" but also insists "that won't stop it being 'the usual' on Saturday".

"He is similar to Loughnane in some ways," Daly muses. "There are similarities there, even though they have had a few cuts at each other along the way. They have been that driving force.

"We have all modelled ourselves on them. They have been the two most successful managers if you go back over the last 20 years.

"But in terms of longevity, Brian is out on his own, to be honest with you. I would always try to learn. But I think to myself, 'I'm 42 now, I have years to be catching up'!"

The perception of Cody, 'The Island', the granite-hard, impenetrable generator of Kilkenny's excellence isn't far from the truth either, according to Daly.

"Brian doesn't give too much away," he confirms.

"He's an awful nice fella. One of the things that always strikes me about Brian is he always asks, 'How's the club?' And we talk about James Stephens and Clarecastle.

"But look, he's a role model the way he does things. But that won't stop it being the usual on Saturday evening."