Thursday 24 May 2018

Tyrrell compares Cody fear factor to Fergie's iron grip

The management styles of Brian Cody and Alex Ferguson have a lot in common. Photo: Des Foley / SPORTSFILE
The management styles of Brian Cody and Alex Ferguson have a lot in common. Photo: Des Foley / SPORTSFILE
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Brian Cody has the 'X' factor that makes him the most successful hurling manager in history, but it's the fear factor that keeps his players on their toes.

That's the view of Kilkenny stalwart Jackie Tyrrell, who has soldiered under Cody's command since 2003.

And if anyone thinks that familiarity, longevity, and an impressive honours haul which includes six All-Ireland, seven Leinster and four National League medals can earn extra brownie points with Brian, forget it.

Tyrrell, a James Stephens clubmate of Cody's, knows who is boss and he awaits word of the Kilkenny team to face Galway in Sunday's Allianz Hurling League semi-final with as much nervous anticipation as at any time in his illustrious career.

There simply is no chance of complacency about getting the black and amber jersey, particularly this season when Cody has widened his options and checked out the strength of the panel in the league.

Speaking at the Opel Kit for Clubs 2014 launch yesterday, Tyrrell admits he can't envisage Kilkenny under any other manager, although sooner or later the day must come when Cody steps down.

"There are some very rare individuals like Alex Ferguson – Sean Boylan had it as well – that have longevity and that massive hunger for it, but who also have the adaptability to change throughout the years.

"Brian would have probably built four or five different teams in different phases of his career.

"He just has that ability to be able to blend one team into another, but still keeping that massive hunger and that appetite in place," said Tyrrell.

And does he instil fear into his men?

"Absolutely. He has that aura and presence, but I suppose long before Brian took that job, he would have had respect in that he had been there, done that – won All-Irelands, captained Kilkenny, and at club level, similarly, he was very successful.

"All of that would have fed into respect for him. Then, with management, the success he had has made Brian Cody an iconic figure," said Tyrrell.

Tyrrell, such an accomplished defender and tough as nails when it's needed, has rotated between corner-back and centre-back in his league outings.

The two roles require different skill-sets, particularly in the modern game, but Tyrrell is up for the challenge that 2014 presents as the Cats seek to get back to winning form.

"I want to squeeze every last drop I can out of it. I love challenges, and I love being given challenges, and what a challenge we have this year, personally and collectively as a team.

"I really like playing (number) six. I played there all my life with my club, and I've had a few outings for the county there. I don't know if I am settled in the position. That's Brian and the management team's call. Brian Hogan has played there, Kieran Joyce has hurled there as well, and so has Lester Ryan.

ADAPTABLE

"All our defenders would be quite adaptable and able to make that transition. So you are never comfortable. I'd love to be playing there, but that's not up to me.

"All I can do is prepare myself as best as possible and put my best foot forward, and hopefully I can get selected somewhere on the team," said Tyrrell.

Galway beat Kilkenny in their recent league encounter, but the stakes are higher now that both counties have reached the semi-final.

"The big thing is getting quality games leading up to the championship.

"It would be brilliant to get to a league final again, and to know you would have another good quality game two or three weeks down the road closer to the championship.

"I've been impressed with Galway, absolutely. They're trying out a lot of things but at the same time getting a lot of good results.

"They finished the last round with a draw down in Clare which is very difficult to get, and they could have easily won it.

"It will be a tough game. I wouldn't expect anything else from them," added Tyrrell.

Irish Independent

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