Brian Cody wasn't inclined to come straight out and say it but it's hard to contradict the assumption that Jonjo Farrell would not have started Kilkenny's Leinster SHC opener against Dublin had Richie Hogan been fit.
"After the league, you wouldn't have been saying 'he's definitely going to be starting the Championship.' But he did," was as close as the Kilkenny manager came to verifying that particular theory. A sniper's tally of 1-5 later and Farrell's spot in the Kilkenny attack for the Leinster final, wherein he picked off another 1-4 and became the Cats good fortune story of the summer.
"What hasn't surprised me is that he's contributed in a serious way to the team otherwise he wouldn't be in there," Cody went on.
"He's spent a couple of years in the panel and it didn't happen for him straight away.
"He was more mature when he came in, if you like, but his credentials are good from the point of view he's a terrific team player with a very serious work-rate.
"He wouldn't have been expected nor required to get the amount of scores he got so far and he could cheerfully have scored maybe nothing in either game and still have played very well from our point of view from the way he would have contributed to scores got by other players," he added.
"It works like that sometimes.
"I think for anybody to get that amount of scores in two championship games is nice going but that's not the basic requirement either.
"He was on the end of a lot of stuff, did it very well and if he does the same the next day we'll be happy enough."
That 2-9 from play in two Championship matches represents fair going, but Farrell's performances have been multi-faceted.
"It's not just being flashy and just tapping beautiful scores," Cody insisted.
"That's doable, but it's not enough. He's a genuine lad and a genuine player. Very genuine.
"Very committed player. But again, he realises that the challenge for him is to get his place on the team. Not to score whatever it is.
"But to ensure that he gets a jersey that will have him in the starting team for Sunday.
Fortune, it seems, favours those who endure.
There have, surely, been other potential Jonjo Farrells who didn't hang around to wait their turn.
"I don't think we've had too many. Maybe we've had a couple," Cody explained.
"But Jonjo, he worked very, very hard to get called in at whatever age he was. And then to take it on from there," added Cody.
"Now the challenge is greater for him. If he had come in a got a point or something, he wouldn't be looked upon in the same vein as he's being looked upon now."