Wednesday 22 November 2017

Tyrrell not distracted by Cody factor

Marie Crowe

Marie Crowe

Playing club hurling for the team your county manager is involved with can't be easy, especially when that man is Kilkenny boss Brian Cody.

Although Cody isn't a selector or mentor with James Stephens, he still has a huge interest in everything to do with the club. He attends most senior training sessions and all the matches, his son Donnacha is on the side, as was his other son Diarmuid until he broke his thumb. However for Jackie Tyrrell, it's not a big deal.

"Brian is at almost every club game in the county," he says. "Whether it's an intermediate, junior or senior game, he is at it and if he isn't he has someone else at it. He has eyes and ears everywhere and you can't do anything without him knowing. He is going to know how well you played whether he is there or not."

Tyrrell and the other James Stephens players like Eoin Larkin have known Cody most of their lives. He was their teacher in primary school and a constant presence throughout their underage hurling development.

"If you met Brian three weeks after an All-Ireland on the street or at an event, it's all about James Stephens with him and you'd think 'is this man even involved with Kilkenny' because there is just no talk about it anymore. He is a school teacher and a club man and he is just eager to know how we are all getting on and how the club is going."

Club aside, it's been a long year for Tyrrell. Losing to Tipperary in the 2010 final hurt badly but winning this year more than made up for it. It was his sweetest victory yet, better than the four-in-a-row.

"After we lost to Tipperary, Liam Sheedy came in to talk to us. He said that if we bottle the hurt we felt it would make us stronger. He was right, we couldn't wait to get back training last year and we had Tipperary in our sights from the get-go.

"When the final whistle went this year, it was unbelievable. It's so hard to describe the feeling. It's like thinking that you can jump off the top of the Hogan Stand and fly. It's just great and it's only really sinking in now, two months later."

For now he is concentrating on his club. Admittedly, it took a couple of weeks after the All-Ireland final win to get back on track. There was a lot of celebrating to do but once the first championship game came around Tyrrell's focus returned and he took it one game at a time.

Shamrocks are firm favourites going into the game because of the calibre of player they possess including the likes of the Fennellys, the Reids, Henry Shefflin and Cha Fitzpatrick but Tyrrell has no fear.

"I love playing against my Kilkenny team-mates, I love having the chance to get a crack at some of them lads as I'm sure they feel the same as well. We will be back training in November or December and I don't want to be listening to them when we go back.

"They have some serious hurlers but putting yourself up against the best is where you want to be. No one is giving us a chance so the pressure is all on Shamrocks, and after them losing last year, everyone is tipping them. But our preparations have gone well so I'd be fairly confident that if we get a run at them, we could take them."

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