‘It was a great game, I would imagine, to be able to sit back and watch and relax’

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody thought last-minute Tipperary free was ‘harsh’

 Kilkenny manager Brian Cody gestures during Sunday’s drawn All-Ireland hurling final against Tipperary. Photograph: Inpho

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody gestures during Sunday’s drawn All-Ireland hurling final against Tipperary. Photograph: Inpho

 

Vince Lombardi never really worried about winning. His only fear was losing. Which may help explain why a great manager like Brian Cody feels nothing after a game that is neither won nor lost.

It’s also what happens after any manager is convinced the team cannot fail. Kilkenny didn’t fail and nor did they succeed. It was the most brilliantly disarming display of emotional indifference in the aftermath of an All-Ireland hurling final. Because the question of Cody’s overriding feeling was met with an unstoppable force of detachment. “I have no real phenomenal feelings,” said Cody. “Obviously you want to win. You don’t want to lose. So we neither won nor we lost. So I am just as I am, to be honest.”

Had he ever thought of a draw? “No I had not,” he said. “But yeah, it’s amazing. Three years in a row, you’ve had a draw in the All-Ireland finals. It’s amazing to think it ended like that. They had dominance and we had dominance. It was a great game, I would imagine, to be able to sit back and watch and relax.”

Harsh call

Too close for most naked eyes to decide – although while Hawk-Eye confirmed it was wide, Cody suggested the match officials should have been “clever enough to signal it a wide”. Again, his only fear was losing.

So, just like two years ago – when they drew with Galway – Cody cancelled all plans for the team banquet and diverted the bus straight back to Kilkenny last night. They have one advantage over Tipperary in knowing what the next three weeks are mostly about, although that won’t count for much come Saturday, September 27th.

“Ah, I don’t know does it help. I’m sure Tipp are more than capable of preparing properly for the replay. It’s their way of doing it and our way of doing it. There’s no magic in it. In some ways, it’s like we played a semi-final today, and you have to play a final in three weeks’ time. Except you’re going back to play the same team again.”

There will be things to ponder in the meantime: whether Richie Hogan should start at centre forward; whether Henry Shefflin might start; and whether there’s any better way at not conceding 29 scores. “Sure they conceded what we conceded,” said Cody, addressing the latter.

Scoring easily

“Richie certainly got some great scores at centre forward, and Michael Fennelly thundered into the game (at midfield). But, look it, they’re flexible. They were probably more natural positions for both of them in lots of ways.”

As for Shefflin, five minutes on the field may or may have been long enough: “Well they [the other forwards] were doing very well, that was the reality. They were playing excellent. We were really going it at the time. There are different calls at different times. That’s all.”

No more bigger call on the day, however, than the call on Hawk-Eye.

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