Sunday 21 January 2018

I would never think we have an Indian sign over Tipp - Cody

Brian Cody is set for his 16th All-Ireland final as Kilkenny boss. Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Brian Cody is set for his 16th All-Ireland final as Kilkenny boss. Sam Barnes/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

In 30 league and championship games against Tipperary in his time as Kilkenny manager, Brian Cody has overseen 21 wins and one draw, close to a 72pc success rate.

Since the 2010 All-Ireland defeat to their great rivals - their only championship reversal in nine meetings over 18 seasons - that record has been enhanced to 81pc, with 10 wins and a draw in 13 games.

Tipp manager Michael Ryan. Photo: Sportsfile
Tipp manager Michael Ryan. Photo: Sportsfile

The Cats have beaten Tipp in three All-Ireland finals, three All-Ireland semi-finals and four league finals.

But Cody refuses to believe that his Kilkenny teams have had an 'Indian sign' over their great rivals, despite the weight of those statistics.

Some of the greatest games in living memory have been played out between the pair under his watch but he insists he doesn't stop to reflect on past battles.

"I'm sure we don't (have an Indian Sign), that's for certain," said Cody. "We've met in some very, very high-profile games. I don't even stop to think, I couldn't even rattle off now what years they were, I just don't know.

"If I stopped to think about it I could figure it out I'm sure. But, it's in the past, it's done and dusted. Does it have any influence on what will happen the next day? Absolutely not."


Nor does he believe Tipperary's deficit in recent meetings gives them any added motivation.

"If you like you can say it gives them a greater drive, I don't think it does because the drive to win an All-Ireland final is there anyway," reasoned the Cats supremo. "I would never think we have any kind of an advantage on them at all. I just think they are a terrific team."

The Kilkenny manager, preparing for a 16th All-Ireland hurling final (including two replays), has re-iterated his belief that skill is the most essential quality to win a game and remains the constant fundamental.

"I am not saying it's the same game as it was 10 or 15 years ago. I am saying the fundamentals of the game can't change as far as I'm concerned," he said.

"You can line out your team whatever way you want but at the same time the requirements are skill, fitness, physical strength, composure, nerves, it's a mental test in a big way always, determination, all the qualities that are always required in every team sport really. They don't ever change."

Michael Ryan's description of Kilkenny as 'masters of intensity' after their recent All-Ireland semi-final win over Waterford is something, Cody wondered, that he said "for the craic".

"Intensity is a huge part of any team sport. What if you don't bring that intensity? But how many times have we been on the receiving end of that intensity from various counties? We certainly have," he said.

"And if we didn't have an element of that or if we can't bring that to a very, very decent level, we're going to be blown away. That's one of the fundamentals of the game as well.

"It's like people speak about intensity as if it's something negative about it. It's a hugely positive thing.

"It's probably what allows you to express yourself as a hurler, the fact that you try and dominate your area and dominate your position, but they do that on such a regular basis and they've done it many, many times over the years as well, as have all the other top hurling counties."

Cody's sparing use of substitutes during games has been a feature of his stewardship, going right back to the 2008 All-Ireland final against Waterford when he brought on just two.

Pre-planned moves are not something he says he ever considers.

"We don't ever go into a game thinking, 'right we are going to run with this for 10, 20, 50 minutes, whatever it is'," he said. "We send a team out to play and that's the team we pick. So we trust the lads. You are trusting your own decision-making. You would be very, very foolish if you didn't.

"Off you go and play and if you feel the need to make switches, you make switches and we don't say 'look we have to give him 20, 30, 40 minutes'.

"Instinct takes over really what happens and I think it's a mistake to ever have in your head with 20 minutes to go to say 'we definitely have to bring on such a fella'. I would never think like that and neither would the lads."

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