Saturday 15 December 2018

Cody's lucky numbers

Brian Cody has been the most dominant managerial figure in hurling since taking over Kilkenny in November 1998, replacing Kevin Fennelly
Brian Cody has been the most dominant managerial figure in hurling since taking over Kilkenny in November 1998, replacing Kevin Fennelly

No matter what way you look at the figures, they all add up for Kilkenny's brilliant boss, writes Colm Keys

1 Manager who has been arguably the most dominant managerial figure ever in hurling since taking over Kilkenny in November 1998, replacing Kevin Fennelly.

2 The number of goalkeepers Cody has used in his championship games since 1999. He gave James McGarry his debut against Laois in 1999 and McGarry was almost ever present for the first five years. All 34 of McGarry's championship appearances came under Cody's watch, the current incumbent, PJ Ryan, who has established himself over the last two seasons, has started nine championship games.

3 In Cody's time there have three players have won four 'hurler of the year' awards between them -- DJ Carey (2000), Henry Shefflin 2002 and 2006), JJ Delaney (2003). It took them the previous 20 years (1979-98) to win the same number.

4 The national hurling league has always carried importance for Brian Cody during his years in charge and they have been crowned champions on four occasions -- 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006.

5 The amount of times Brian Cody has sat in a losing dressing-room as the Kilkenny hurling manager after a championship defeat. Only three counties have beaten Kilkenny in championship hurling over the last decade. Two of those defeats were at the hands of Cork in All-Ireland finals (1999 and 2004), two more came courtesy of Galway in an All-Ireland semi-finals (2001 and 2005), while Wexford have inflicted the only Leinster championship on Cody in 10 years, their shock semi-final win in 2004 when Michael Jacob's late goal had him thumping the ground at the Canal End in frustration.

5 The number of selectors Cody has worked with over the last 10 years, a tight number by comparison to other counties. Johnny Walsh and Ger Henderson were his first selectors, but due to pressure of time, Henderson had to give way, prompting the call to duty of Noel Skehan, the county's legendary goalkeeper. At the end of 2005, Cody decided to shake things up among his backroom team after two successive years of Cork dominance. He let Walsh and Skehan go and replaced them with current incumbents, Martin Fogarty, manager of the All-Ireland U-21 winning team in 2003 and 2004 and the former Laois footballer and manager Mick Dempsey who also worked with those U-21 teams.

6 Cody's teams have showed a ruthless touch when it comes to scoring goals but there have been six games when they have drawn a blank including both All-Ireland final defeats (1999 and 2004) to Cork.

Wexford's average loss to Kilkenny in nine games has been just under eight points per game, but in three of those games they have prevented goals, the 2002 and 2005 Leinster finals and the 2007 All-Ireland semi-final.

6 The number of Cork managers there have been during Kilkenny's 10 years of stability -- Jimmy Barry Murphy, Tom Cashman, Bertie Og Murphy, Donal O'Grady, John Allen and Gerald McCarthy. Offaly have also had six in that time -- Michael Bond (twice), Pat Fleury, Tom Fogarty, Mike McNamara, John McIntyre and now Joe Dooley. Tipperary have had five from 1999 to the present day, Galway have had four in the same period of time.

9 The most frequent number of games Kilkenny, under Cody, have played against any one county in championship hurling. Unfortunately for them that has been Wexford who have lost eight of those nine matches including two in 2007. Offaly have also suffered eight defeats out of eight games, Galway have met Cody's Kilkenny's six times over the decade, while Cork and Clare have both been in opposition in five championship matches each.

10 Captains change almost annually in Kilkenny because of the system that allows the county champions of the previous year to nominate. The Cody years have witnessed 10 different captains -- Denis Byrne (1999), Willie O'Connor (2000),John Hoyne (2001), Andy Comerford (2002), D J Carey (2003), Martin Comerford (2004), Peter Barry (2005), Jackie Tyrrell (2006), Henry Shefflin (2007), James "Cha" Fitzpatrick (2008).

Charlie Carter was, of course, captain in 2003, but withdrew from the panel after the Dublin game when he didn't feature.

25.6 The average score (in points) Cody teams have racked up in the 43 games under his command since 1999. The 6-27 against Offaly in the 2005 Leinster semi-final is their highest match tally, 0-9 against Cork in the 2004 All-Ireland final is the only time they have recorded single figures in a championship in Cody's time. Their average score per game has been higher in the three games to date in 2008 than in any of the previous nine seasons with 30.66 points, taking them past the 30-point barrier for the first time. Their lowest average return was 2004 when their average per game was 20.71 points.

31The biggest margin of victory for Kilkenny in any of their 43 games to date under Cody was against Offaly in the 2005 Leinster semi-final when they won by 6-28 to 0-15. In their eight games against the midlanders the average margin of victory has been 14.75 points.

Only once have Offaly kept Kilkenny to within single figures when they lost the 2002 Leinster semi-final by 2-20 to 1-14.

36 Kilkenny's goal concessions since 1999 -- an average of less than one per game. In 17 of their 43 games under his stewardship they have not conceded a goal, three of those 'clean sheets' have come in the seven All-Ireland finals they have played. In total, Cody's Kilkenny have shipped just four goals in All-Ireland finals and never more than one per final. Galway have the best goal scoring record of any team against them, accounting for 12 of the 36.

43 The number of championship games that Cody has taken charge of since his 1999. In that time Henry Shefflin is the only player to have started every one of those 43 matches. In fact, in his time as a Kilkenny senior Henry has never played for another other manager as he made his debut in the 1999 Leinster championship against Laois.

Michael Kavanagh is next with 39 appearances during Cody's reign, Eddie Brennan has played 36 times, including a host of appearances as a substitute with James McGarry, Noel Hickey and J J Delaney all on 34.

46 Kilkenny's haul of All Stars in the Cody years. Their best year was 2000 when they claimed nine positions, their worst was the following year, 2001, when Charlie Carter was their sole representative.

92 The number of goals Cody's Kilkenny have scored in championship games over the decade. Henry Shefflin and Eddie Brennan have 20 each, D J Carey banged in 12 in 22 games.

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