Brian Cody has warned of the need for his players to be “massively vigilant” of Covid infection between now and the All-Ireland hurling final next week, as case numbers have surged in recent weeks.
The Kilkenny manager, preparing for a 17th All-Ireland SHC final, said it would be “too cruel for anybody” if they were to miss out because of a Covid issue.
Speaking at a Kilkenny media event yesterday, which took place outdoors to emphasise their vigilant approach, Cody has said it would be an “absolute disaster” if it was to strike either camp between now Sunday week.
“It’s there again in abundance and it’s a concern, it’s a worry. Players have been massively vigilant up until this and absolutely will continue to be,” he said.
“This media event is happening outdoors just to ensure safety, again, for everybody. It would be absolutely a disaster for anybody from either Kilkenny or Limerick to have an issue with Covid coming up to the final, because that would be just too cruel for anybody.”
Cody said Kilkenny have been “very conscious of the whole thing” over the last three seasons.
“Our doctor Dr Tadhg Crowley is a top man and he knows exactly the potential for things to go wrong, and the players are intelligent young lads. They have been very aware, they steer away from any stuff that is in any way going to inhibit their chances of being there for All-Ireland final day.”
Kilkenny have just one injury concern over Conor Fogarty, who missed out the last day against Clare.
“He’s still not fully recovered so we just don’t know, for certain, how he’ll be. We’re hoping. He did a little bit of hurling at the weekend, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
Cody has welcomed the appointment of referee Colm Lyons to his first All-Ireland hurling final, despite the misgivings he might have had over the late free which gave Conor Cooney an opportunity to win their Leinster round-robin game against Galway in Salthill, which he willingly took.
“The reality is the players, managers, referees, they all make mistakes – and honest mistakes are fine, and you can’t do anything about that,” said Cody.
“It’s Kilkenny and Limerick’s All-Ireland final, it’s the players’ All-Ireland final but it’s also his All-Ireland final. He’s going out to perform to the maximum level of his ability and he’s going to go out with a proper agenda to represent himself, obviously, and the game the way it should be and that’s it.
“We all get excited on the sideline and during a game and you see something, ‘Jees, that shouldn’t have been blown’ or ‘that should have been blown’. That happens but at the end of the day you have to have massive respect for all the referees who are there, because it’s not an easy position to be in. It won’t be easy for the players taking on each other, but he is taking on everything,
“He has huge responsibility and a huge realisation that a decision from him could actually decide the game. So he’s going to be absolutely flat out to do his level best, and that’s all anyone can ask for.”