16th Leinster SHC title a sweet one for Cody
By John Harrington
Kilkenny’s Leinster SHC Final victory over Galway this evening was a very sweet 16th provincial title for Brian Cody as manager.
What pleased him most was the character his players showed to battle back from five points down in the second half and win a match that seemed to be drifting away from them.
“Ah yeah, look, of course we're delighted, there's no doubt about that,” said Cody. “I suppose a few times during the game it may have looked like it was going away from us and everything else but there was never a huge amount in the game. I mean, hurling is hurling and leads, four or five-point leads are never going to crucify a (trailing) team, provided the attitude is good and you stay going and stay going.
“We created chances and we got goals at vital times and got some very good scores. Again, the defending all over the field was top class as well. It was just a huge whole panel effort. Players coming in off the bench did a great job. It was a kind of a display that I would be very satisfied with, there's no doubt about that.”
No player had a bigger influence on this match than Kilkenny substitute, Richie Hogan.
He hit 1-2 from play, and it was his goal that ignited Kilkenny’s second-half comeback.
Cody was particularly pleased for his long-serving forward because his career has been so injury-riddled in recent years.
“Ah no Richie was very influential, there's no doubt about that when he came in. You're talking about a real experienced player and a player who has given great service for certain.
“It's terrific that...I mean, Richie has had an uninterrupted kind of a year with injury, he's one of the players in the country who has benefited from the lack of competitive games over the year because he's had a free run to get injury free and he definitely contributed really, really powerfully when he came on.
“He got a break, the body got a break. I firmly believe and I would have said it to him as well.
“Because he's a player, he doesn't hold back when he's injured. He won't just lie down, even for a serious enough injury. He'll keep going.
“He's a fighter. So he hasn't minded the body from the point of view of sitting back when he's injured, 'I can't play'. He's not like that. He always wants to play and definitely he's moving freely.”
The only slight downer on an otherwise glorious evening for Kilkenny hurling was the sight of Richie Leahy being forced off with an injury, but Cody is hopeful he’ll be back for the All-Ireland semi-final.
“It's a hamstring and we're hopeful,” he said. “I thought Richie was very, very good. He's one of these players who has picked up hamstring injuries over the years and that, a young player.
“We'll see how it goes, our physios are top class. So we'll be certainly hoping that Richie is available for the semi-final.”