Friday 23 August 2019

Kenny: We want to play attacking hurling but there are systems within that

Dublin manager Mattie Kenny. Photo: Sportsfile
Dublin manager Mattie Kenny. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Dublin manager Mattie Kenny believes the achievements of Brian Cody will never be matched again.

The pair face off on the sideline in Nowlan Park on Saturday evening (7.0) in the opening round of the Leinster SHC and the contrast could hardly be more stark.

Kenny will be taking charge of his first championship game as manager in his own right while Cody is embarking on a 21st season as Cats' boss.

"Brian Cody is a legend in the game," Kenny reflected.

"A guy that's so well respected and admired throughout Ireland. A guy that I've huge admiration for myself.

"I've met Brian on a number of occasions in the last 10 or 15 years - he's always such a gentleman, willing to give you time to talk about hurling.

"Everybody knows what he's achieved with Kilkenny in those 21 years - something that will never be matched again. 

"What I believe, under his reign, that Kilkenny team of a number of years ago was the greatest team ever to play the game. It was managed and built by Brian."

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That admiration will be suspended on Saturday night but both sides go into battle without a number of front-line players.

Kilkenny will be without Cillian Buckley, James Maher, Conor Delaney and Rob Lennon for the opening two games at least, while All-Star goalkeeper Eoin Murphy faces a longer spell out.

Fionntán Mac Gib, John Hetherton and Cian O'Callaghan are out through injury while Donal Burke is unavailable due to exams.

Conal Keaney, Liam Rushe and Mark Schutte have also only recently returned to training.

However, Dublin used 30 players in the league and he's confident that the squad can survive those absences.

"One of the most important traits in a player is they have to be coachable. You want them to become students of the game; that they have an open mind to try things differently.

"Our coaching staff and myself as manager, we have to have that also. We have a philosophy of the way we want to play the game.

"We want to play an attacking brand of hurling, but within that there are different systems.

"I find the Dublin senior players are really solid guys, really good people, and very coachable.

"So, I think there's a good dynamic within our group and we're working to try and improve our performances every day we go out.

"We know we're not there yet. We know we've a lot of work to do. But we're willing to put that work in and see where it gets us."

Irish Independent

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