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TJ Reid to roll on into 17th season with ‘buzz’ new manager can bring

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All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Finalist; Kilkenny’s TJ Reid, pictured in Croke Park to celebrate that Littlewoods Ireland has rebranded to Very.

All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Finalist; Kilkenny’s TJ Reid, pictured in Croke Park to celebrate that Littlewoods Ireland has rebranded to Very.

All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Finalist; Kilkenny’s TJ Reid, pictured in Croke Park to celebrate that Littlewoods Ireland has rebranded to Very.

He has 16 seasons done as an inter-county hurler but TJ Reid is committed to taking that to at least 17 and maybe beyond as he looks to 2023 and Kilkenny under new boss Derek Lyng.

While admitting it was an “emotional” time to see the Brian Cody era come to an end almost two weeks ago, Reid acknowledges it will be “nice to get a different feel” when the new regime of Lyng is in place for the start of next year.

“I’ll personally go for as long as I can,” said Reid, who will be 35 later this year. “I have club championship coming up now and then usually in November, December, January you see how you’re going,” he continued.

“Is the appetite there, is the hunger there, is the motivation there to go again? And obviously the new management team that comes in, that’s going to give you a bit of a buzz, a bit of adrenalin. So next year will be different, it will be something to look forward to because I had 16 seasons with Brian so it’ll be nice to go for a year or two with a new management.”

That said, Cody’s absence from the sideline will take an adjustment. Reid was heading off on holidays to Nice when a “lovely message” from Cody was put on the team’s WhatsApp group, prior to the public announcement of his departure.

“Obviously it was strange alright,” he said. “Usually you wouldn’t hear anything but it was probably the Wednesday after the All-Ireland when the news kind of broke, there was word of Brian stepping down.

“I was not expecting it but, obviously, being there so long, news like that never gets out after an All-Ireland, especially on the Tuesday or Wednesday.

“So I was kind of expecting it (then), but I didn’t think it would be that soon.”

Because of holidays Reid hasn’t met with Cody yet, but plans to wish him well personally after handing over the county reins to Lyng.

“I was on holidays so I wasn’t around to meet him or ring him but Brian is very shy in one way, you’d never see him around. In 10, 15 years I’ve never seen him in High Street in Kilkenny, so I don’t know where he’s hiding out!

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“With WhatsApp over the last couple of years there were legends who have been exiting, they send a small message and they’ll exit the group and it’s sad to see it because you have great times with those people and next year Brian Cody and the peak cap will be missed.”

Reid knows he owes Cody some gratitude for how his career took off after 2012, when he considered quitting inter-county hurling at one stage.

“Ten or 12 years ago is the past and you’re a young lad, you don’t really know what’s going on around the place,” he said of his 2012 disillusion. “My relationship with Brian had nothing to do with Brian, it was myself more so.

“Obviously, when you’re young you want to be playing every game. Obviously when you’re 22 or 23 years of age and you thinking to yourself that you should be playing and then you’re not being played, you’re going to be annoyed over it. As a player you have standards and ambitions and you want to play every game and I didn’t like being a sub. That was the reason, it was nothing to do with Brian.

“Obviously, myself and Brian had conversations over it, and after that we were great friends over the last couple of years. But it’s like any manager, you have ups or downs, you agree, you disagree. It’s normal. I’m sure every business, every organisation has a manager where you agree or you don’t agree with things. I have only high respect for Brian and what he’s achieved with Kilkenny – and I wouldn’t be the player I am if it wasn’t for Brian and all the selectors and backroom team.”

Reid admits that they went a little bit above most expectations in 2022, but it’s another year without an All-Ireland title – and by next year that will have stretched to eight. “It’s in my head every year that we haven’t won an All-Ireland since 2015,” he said.

For now Reid returns to his club Ballyhale Shamrocks, where the hurt from their All-Ireland final defeat to Ballygunner in February is still being felt. But the five-time All-Ireland club winner is not an advocate of the new split season, reasoning that the inter-county season was too intense with the quick succession of games. He also senses some erosion on the club side.

“It’s getting more demanding. I’m thinking of the county player here,” he said. “We dedicated seven months of continuous training, league games, championship training, championship. The only weekend that we had off just to get away was last week. At the end of the day we are amateur players.

“Before, it was lovely, you had a spell with county, you go back to the club for a couple of weeks, you have your time there and you’re back with the county.

“I preferred that because you get a bit of down time to yourself. I feel sorry for the club player, because Ballyhale, that was their first meaningful game in seven, eight months (last weekend).

“So my worry for clubs is that I think you might lose more players. It’s very hard for a club player even to be motivated, because you know there’s not going to be a league or championship game for seven, eight months

“I know from talking to other clubs they’re finding it hard to get players down to the field as well, because they’re heading off on holidays, they’re missing training because they know that there’s not a game until July or August. I worry about the future of it. My worry is that you might lose certain players because of how long they have to wait.”

Reid was speaking as Littlewoods Ireland, one of the hurling championship’s sponsors, celebrated its rebrand to Very, very.ie


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