Sport Hurling

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Cody enjoying the challenges in season of 'savage quality'

Waterford boss Michael Ryan embraces Brian Cody after the game
Waterford boss Michael Ryan embraces Brian Cody after the game
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Brian Cody puffed his cheeks and weighed up the inquiry as to whether he had ever experienced or witnessed a hurling championship like it.

"Probably not because it has just been fantastic the whole way through. People every year, some of the reporters probably, question hurling and talk about what the quality is like. The quality is absolutely savage.

"The number of teams competing and capable of beating other teams on any given day is just greater than ever. Hurling is in a very strong position."

Minutes after another epic instalment it was impossible to disagree with that sentiment. Cody continues to relish the challenges being served up to his team and the different territory it sends them to.

"We had been playing at a standard that we wouldn't be happy with up until last weekend. We picked it up well last weekend, we were tested very much and tested again this weekend and came through.

"Even when we lost to Dublin, and Dublin have gone on to prove how good they are, we stuck in, we fought and were competitive right up until the end without playing particularly well.

"I think the hallmark of the team is that they always go out and work very honestly and play the game in a real genuine way. They have been successful.

"But it's not about what we have achieved in the past at all. The past is just a memory, it's not even a memory to me at all, it's just something that happened. All we are worried about is what we can do tonight and the next night and that's the way all sports people feel anyway," added Cody.

"There were huge questions asked; if our spirit was diluted, or if our attitude or determination was in any way below par we would have been blown away.

"That was the standard they were playing at and it's great credit due to them because everybody talks about the great Waterford players no longer playing with them."

Cody revealed that Henry Shefflin, substituted at the end of normal time after 31 minutes of action, had not compounded any injury.

"Henry is okay. No, he's fine. He has nothing behind him from a hurling point of view." Nor did he dwell on the decision to blow full-time by referee James Owens just before Matthew Ruth was aligning himself to strike what would have the winning point, or the fact that they had let a five-point lead slip.

"The dressing-room was fine because I think excuses were banished from the dressing-room a long, long time ago. You can feel sorry for yourself but there were still 20 minutes to go in the game.

"Any sort of less-than-proper body language and you are handing over a phenomenal advantage to the opposition and that would be a very silly thing to do.

"It's a question of 'who cares?' We had to play another 20 minutes to get to an All-Ireland quarter-final, if we had to play another 40, 50 then so be it, you know. It is a great thing to be doing."

Similarly Jackie Tyrrell spoke of the delight in playing in such occasions, admitting to a "healthy fatigue" afterwards.

Meanwhile, Michael Ryan has declared a strong interest in remaining on as Waterford manager for another term. Ryan's two years have elapsed but if he is required by the county board he will be available, he admitted.

"No question about it. It's up to the county board but my name will be in the hat, as will the rest of the management team.

"We knew Kilkenny were a formidable team but we had great belief in ourselves. We worked really hard – we had a lot of young fellas on the team and we set our stall out early on. There was no point hawking high ball down on top of Kilkenny. We used the ball well, at times very well," Ryan said.

"Maybe the deciding factor was the early minutes of extra-time when they had a little bit of composure.

"They got some great scores and we were left to play catch-up again but we came back with another goal and fought to the end. It was a tremendous game, a tribute to Kilkenny and Waterford. I'm just so proud of those lads in the dressing-room.

"I'm not a person who gets tremendously frustrated. We'll look at it, learn and come back again. I was in charge of Waterford ladies football teams who lost four or five Munster finals to Kerry but we kept at it and kept going. And this team will come back."

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