'It's an Irish thing' - Kilkenny legend Eddie Keher slams Brian Cody's critics
GIVEN he has overseen the most successful hurling era the sport has ever witnessed, it might be safe to presume Brian Cody has enough in the bank to endure a couple of nothing League defeats without drawing too much attention to himself or his team.
Not so. Contriving a first home loss to Waterford in 14 years followed by a 12-point defeat in Ennis – a record under Cody – triggered a ra-tat-tat of hysterical reaction.
Which, coming directly after that All-Ireland final caning by Tipperary, may have some justification.
But still - it’s Brian Cody.
“How anyone could criticise Brian Cody for what he’s achieved, and being criticised by people who haven’t had anything near like the success he’s had over the years, it’s extraordinary,” says Kilkenny legend Eddie Keher.
“I suppose that’s a fact of life but there’s no one better to take the criticism anyway.”
Keher has long been an allay of Cody’s but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong either.
The Kilkenny manager himself has noted in the past how any period of dominance by one particular team can naturally fuel the hunger for the end of that pre-eminence.
“It’s a fact of life, isn’t it? With politics and everything, people (critics) are pulling the trigger early,” Keher notes.
“I think we always had that sort of thing in Ireland, I’m afraid the unsuccessful people are waiting to get the successful people and wait for their downfall.
“As far as we’re concerned, Brian Cody will always be up there, no matter what happens from here on.
“I mean the success we’ve had will never be repeated in Kilkenny or any other county.
“We’re delighted with that, with what has been achieved and I think Brian still has a lot to achieve with Kilkenny.”
Despite those losses and the fact that defeat in Parnell Park on Sunday would consign Kilkenny to a relegation play-off, they were still good enough to make an All-Ireland final last September and have only been slightly diluted by the retirement of Eoin Larkin.
“When you look back at the great players we’ve lost,” Keher points out, “Henry, DJ, Eddie Brennan, Martin Comerford, we’d love to have them back again but things move on.
“And,” he concludes, “we still have great players to come.”