Sunday 22 April 2018

Classy Brian Cody proves he is as gracious in defeat as in victory with humble post-match interview

Tipperary manager Michael Ryan, left, is congratulated by Kilkenny manager Brian Cody
Tipperary manager Michael Ryan, left, is congratulated by Kilkenny manager Brian Cody
Conor McKeon

Conor McKeon

WE’RE not accustomed to Brian Cody losing on All-Ireland final day, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect when he strolled into the media room in Croke Park this afternoon.

It was - it’s pertinent to clarify – just the second time he had presented himself for questioning in Croker after coming out the wrong side of a Championship result since 2010.

Turns out, he’s just as pragmatic.

“The better team wins the game. The better team won today,” he shrugged.

For context, this was Cody’s 15th All-Ireland final appearance as Kilkenny manager.

Yesterday’s dismantling by Tipperary was just his fourth loss.

If Cody was a county, he would sit fourth on the all-time honours list of All-Ireland hurling titles won, behind only Kilkenny, Tipp and Cork.

“There are no excuses, there is no if only this had happened or only if that had happened.

“There was nothing in it at half-time essentially, the first half was just toing and froing I suppose - two points in it at half-time.

“We got a good start to the second half,” he noted.

“We got a goal, but we didn't drive it on after that.

“When they got their goal they did drive it on.

“They were very, very good that is the way it went.”

That goal – from debutant, Kevin Kelly – infused an air of inevitability around Croke Park, given Kilkenny’s penchant for second half stranglings this year.

As it went, Tipp scored 1-7 to just o-1 iover the next eight minites.

“A goal is a great score to get and it was what we would like to get, but we didn't get that bounce,” Cody acknowledged.

“They came back, they were strong, they were resilient that is the way it went.”

“Six points in it with maybe 10 minutes to go or something like that possibly. If you get a goal it is still nothing, you have to fight it out until the bitter end, to keep going.

“We tried to keep going, they did fight it out until the bitter end, but we weren't narrowing the gap enough. As the minutes wore on it was becoming very difficult for us to pull it back.”

On the day his team were beaten in the most comprehensive way since the 2012 Leinster final humbling by Galway, Cody made just two substitutions, drawing inevitable questions about the depth of his panel.

“You look at everything,” he explained.

“When a full forward line is on top it isn't always a question of what is happening the full back line either.

“It is a team game. Everybody talks about defending all over the field.

“Certainly I wouldn't be pointing the finger at anybody. The full forward line is very talented, there is no doubt about that, but our full back line has done great work for us many, many times.

“It is a collecting thing right throughout the field, sideline, management, we win together and lose together.

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