Wednesday 21 March 2018

Tipp victory embellishes Cody's unrivalled legacy

Brian Cody’s future is always up for discussion simply because he’s been such a fixture in our lives for so long. Photo: Sportsfile
Brian Cody’s future is always up for discussion simply because he’s been such a fixture in our lives for so long. Photo: Sportsfile

Ger Gilroy

Maybe in defeat Kilkenny will be properly appreciated for what they've achieved. There was an odd sense of inevitability about last year's final, it was handy for us all to assume that this is hurling and Kilkenny beat Galway as sure as night follows day.

There was also something preordained about the replay the previous year after Bubbles' free drifted wide in the drawn game. Now they've been beaten, humanised, Kilkenny's previous achievements are actually enhanced. They weren't just showing up, the other teams were within touching distance. So what now that they have taken a trimming?

Brian Cody's future is always up for discussion simply because he's been such a fixture in our lives for so long. There's no doubt next year's Kilkenny panel will have a different look regardless of who's in charge with a few players likely to head off into a well-earned retirement. The second-half performance was unusually bloodless from Kilkenny.

They were overpowered, out-worked, their composure wasn't as great as their opponents', it was a shock to the Kilkenny system. The guess has to be that Cody will stay on and seek to right that wrong. One last tour of the battlefield.

If it comes to pass it brings a brooding edge to the league and preliminary championship encounters as we await the proper exchanges next August. Will he seek to refashion his playing stock as dramatically as he did in the early 2000s after the infamous Galway defeat in 2001? It appears as if Tipp and latterly Waterford are ready to meet that fire.

For Tipperary, there's the fire to be the first Tipp team in half a century to retain a title. Liam Sheedy left the team immediately after 2010 just when the team needed continuity. His decision to break up that management team was as critical to their failure to add to their titles as any of the failings of Declan Ryan.

This time Michael Ryan is going nowhere. He missed the jubilee celebrations of his 1991 team-mates and their sharp suits on Sunday; it's a tiny sacrifice as he was busy making his own history but there's no doubt Tipp have an issue when it comes to going back to back. Ryan will be nursing that notion that this group need to break the cycle. It's no harm having such a defined target as the winter closes in.

Do Galway and Waterford feel emboldened by what Tipperary did to Kilkenny? Do they think that they too had the chance to be the ones standing over the bloodied corpse of this Kilkenny team?

They'll have to feel slightly sickened at how close they got to ending the Kilkenny three-in-a-row and equally they'll be worried about the quantum leap that Tipp took in the final. The five-week lay-off almost halted Tipp's gallop this summer in the semi-final, a game they could easily have lost. It's another strong case for championship restructure.

For Tipp, that's all for another day. This week they're the champions of F***ing Ireland.

Irish Independent

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