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Shefflin's managerial rise no surprise to former master Cody


Cody: Henry Shefflin ‘doesn’t need advice’. Photo: Sportsfile

Cody: Henry Shefflin ‘doesn’t need advice’. Photo: Sportsfile

Cody: Henry Shefflin ‘doesn’t need advice’. Photo: Sportsfile

Given that Brian Cody watched his career progress to become one of the greatest hurlers to play the game, Henry Shefflin's emergence as a manager of some distinction with Ballyhale Shamrocks hasn't surprised the Kilkenny boss one bit.

Kilkenny legend Shefflin collected 10 All-Ireland SHC titles under Cody's watch in a most glittering career with the Cats but few expected him to slot as seamlessly into management as he has with his native club.

Shefflin's first foray on the sideline has already yielded Kilkenny SHC and Leinster SHC club crowns but having watched his playing career at the closest of quarters, Cody knew he was always destined for greatness on and off the pitch.

"He was a leader on the field for us, a leader in every single way. He wasn't necessarily a player who'd be shouting and roaring in the dressing-room, but he spoke with authority and spoke with sense as well," Cody said yesterday as Glanbia extended their sponsorship deal with Kilkenny for another three years.

"He understood exactly the qualities which were needed. Of course he knew the importance of the work and the selflessness required - he epitomised that. The respect he would immediately garner in any dressing-room.

"His knowledge of the game, and his personality - which is crucial to the whole thing. He has a huge amount to offer. His hurling brain was supreme, he never had to look to the sideline to be told to do this or that. He's on a good run and we'll see how they go this weekend."

No call has been made to Cody for advice, with the Kilkenny supremo insisting that he "doesn't need advice" but Shefflin has already been mooted as his heir apparent whenever the 11-time All-Ireland-winning manager calls time on his days with the Cats.

His next major step in management takes place in Semple Stadium today (5.0) as Ballyhale meet Waterford and Munster kingpins Ballygunner in a mouth-watering All-Ireland SHC club semi-final.

Another of Cody's former generals will be in action in Croke Park tomorrow as Noel Hickey leads Dunnamaggin into their All-Ireland junior club decider against Monaghan's Castleblayney and Cody feels another appearance at GAA HQ is just deserts for the 38-year-old.

"It's no surprise. He's just the ultimate GAA man, the ultimate clubman. He was everything - was he a leader for us, he was outstanding. For him and his family, they're completely central to everything that happens in Dunnamaggin.

"It's wonderful to see him getting to Croke Park again. It's something he'll be very proud of and more importantly, he'll see it as being fantastic for the club. That's the kind of person he always has been."

Cody also revealed that there is "no time-frame" on the return of last year's captain Cillian Buckley from knee surgery while Walter Walsh is nearing his comeback and Richie Hogan "has a nice bit done but just a small bit more is needed".