'It would be the greatest achievement of all' - Mullane on Killkenny boss and his hopes for Cody v Sheedy III
John Mullane believes that Brian Cody will have pulled off the ‘greatest achievement’ in recent GAA history if he can lead Kilkenny to this year's All-Ireland title.
Cody’s place in history is already safe, of course, his haul of 11 Liam MacCarthys, 15 Leinster crowns and 9 National Leagues extremely unlikely to ever be bettered.
Yet, questions had been raised over his future following this year’s Leinster final defeat to Wexford, which left the Cats without a Leinster or All-Ireland in three years for the first time in his tenure.
Mullane was speaking at the second of Independent.ie's The Throw-In Live podcasts in a packed Ashdown Park Hotel in Gorey having already been part of the panel when the roadshow hit Kilkenny two weeks ago.
"Go back to a fortnight ago and we were up in Kilkenny. There was a question put to me was it time for Brian Cody to go," he said.
"You weren't long getting your answer that Sunday when they demolished Cork in the second half. Write them off at your peril. When you write them off and everyone believes that their time is up, that's when they come with the sting in the tail again.
"I think it’s going to be very close as is the Wexford Tipp game. But I firmly believe that if Limerick don't operate to the same levels as the Munster final, Kilkenny are well equipped to go and take them down.
"There's no reason why Kilkenny can't go and get the job done. And there's a big part of me, much as I'd love to see Wexford win the All-Ireland, would love to see Cody pull it off and then head into the sunset saying 'I can’t give any more'.
"I think it would be the greatest achievement of all within the GAA.in recent years if he was to pull it off after the Leinster final defeat. They were 12/1 the morning of the Cork game. (Imagine ) if they were to go and beat Cork, Limerick and push on to win an All-Ireland."
While questions have been asked of Cody, there’s also been a consensus that the panel he has to work with is of a lower standard than those of the past. But Mullane still sees plenty of quality there to trouble the reigning champions on Saturday.
And while his gut still says Limerick, he admitted that the prospect of a Kilkenny Tipp final with Cody and Liam Sheedy facing off in a decider for the first time since the famous 2010 clash is a mouth-watering one.
"They have the personnel to go and trouble Limerick. TJ Reid is going to pose a massive question mark for John Kiely," he added.
"Declan Hannon likes to sit in front of the D. Cork got Stevie McDonald to man-mark TJ Reid but if Hannon doesn’t go and follow TJ Reid, who’s going to pick him up?
"Another fascinating one, will Padraig Walsh go in on Dillane? Cillian Buckley will probably start. Will Cody start Walter Walsh? You go through the players they have, Leahy, Mullen, Hogan, Fennelly, Reid. They’ve experience and they go to the end.
"It could be written in the stars that we have a Cody v Sheedy part III and Cody comes back and gets revenge for the five-in-a-row loss. If Limerick perform the way they did in the Munster final they’ll win it but if they’re any way below that Kilkenny can most certainly take them down."