'They found something that brought them to a whole new level' - Brian Cody on his guard ahead of Tipp date
Brian Cody is on guard ahead of Kilkenny's All-Ireland final date with Tipperary having witnessed "a phenomenal display of guts and courage" by Liam Sheedy's side during their comeback defeat of Wexford.
Cody was front and centre in Croke Park two weeks ago watching Tipp overcome the odds to book their final place and the 11-time All-Ireland-winning manager knows exactly what awaits them on Sunday week.
"You can talk about Tipperary forever, talk about their skill and it is magnificent, and their scoring potential is super. I suppose you go to the last match they played against Wexford, the last 25 minutes of that game," Cody said yesterday.
"They had 14 players on the field against a team that were playing really, really well at the time. And you were wondering can Tipperary cope with this challenge? And suddenly, they found something that brought them to a whole new level.
"And I am not saying this because we are playing them. This is the truth, this is what happened. The character they showed, the resilience they showed and the sheer determination and ambition was top-drawer.
"They hurled themselves into the game. It wasn't as it happened all easily for them. They were still rocked by two goals in that period of the game, that would have killed most teams especially when you are down a man.
Rocked "And they were rocked by other things, they got goals that were called back for different things. Against all the odds, they just came out and won the game and it was a phenomenal display of guts and courage and everything that you would love a team to have."
It's the third time Cody will cross swords with Sheedy on final day and the seventh time (including the 2014 replay) which the Cats will clash with Tipp in the decider in the last decade and he insists it's a healthy rivalry.
"There is a great rivalry there, we are neighbouring counties. We love to beat Tipperary, Tipperary would love to beat us. Of course, like they would love to beat everybody.
"There is the sense that it is Kilkenny-Tipp, it is to the supporters and everyone around them. If we are in the All-Ireland final, does it matter who we play? Not in the slightest, because you just want to be in it and you just want to win it. It is Tipperary and there have been terrific games down the years and that's what it is."
Bill Sheehan is the only final doubt after picking up a hamstring injury in training last week but Cody is hopeful that the Dicksboro attacker will return in time to play some part.
"How bad it is, it's hard to say but we're hoping he'll be available. He's been an important player for us coming on at important times in the last few matches."