Wexford hurling star Lee Chin has lauded former Kilkenny manager Brian Cody, and described clashes against his sides as the most enjoyable of his career.
Cody stepped down last month after 24 seasons as Kilkenny boss. In that time, he won 11 All-Ireland titles, 18 Leinster Championships and ten Allianz League titles. Wexford’s last meeting against the legendary manager came in a Leinster Championship win back in May, as Chin scored nine points.
“It was a sad day,” Chin said of Cody’s retirement, speaking on Wednesday at the launch of Budweiser as the official beer partner of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic.
“What a servant he has been, and what a role model. He’s a guy I deeply admire. I always respected him and felt Brian had that respect for me. He would have that quiet little word which always meant a lot to me.
“You would hear a lot of stuff about Brian and how he runs his camp. I always got a warm welcome from him after games, I know he is married to a Wexford woman too. I hope he rides off into the sunset now and enjoys his time off.”
Reflecting on battles throughout the years, Chin, who made his senior Wexford debut in 2013, added you always had to be at the top of your game to compete with Kilkenny.
“You knew you had to bring your game,” Chin said.
“There was no let-up in Brian, I always admired that about him. We’ve had great battles over the years between ourselves and Kilkenny. It was always exhausting, and always a great rivalry. It’s the game I always look forward to the most in terms of the competition that’s in it.
“He is the best manager that we have ever seen. To come up against a guy like that and give it a rattle was always enjoyable for me.”
Chin also shared his thoughts on the new inter-county season format, after Wexford were eliminated by Clare in the All-Ireland quarter-final in June. The shorter season is intended to give more time and focus to the club scene, and Chin supports the new format.
“You'd often hear throughout the season that players don't have time to themselves,” said Chin, who missed a large chunk of this year with a hamstring injury.
“It’s something I need selfishly for myself with the injuries, to give my body time to recover before the season with Wexford next year. We as players value the break.
"Once you step out of the bubble sometimes, it’s nice to see a different part of life and have a few different experiences.
“During the inter-county season, it’s quite hard to get massively involved with your club. The split-season has given me an opportunity to become involved in my own club. Having that time off can bring back that hunger in you.
"I know it will serve me well. If it is the format going forward, it might suit certain individuals better than others."