Eddie Brennan

Eddie Brennan

Eddie Brennan predicts Cody will stay at the Kilkenny helm

By John Harrington

Kilkenny hurling legend Eddie Brennan is confident Brian Cody will stay on as senior hurling team manager for 2018 despite Saturday’s All-Ireland SHC Qualifier defeat to Waterford.

Brennan is currently the Kilkenny U-21 manager, but doesn’t think he or anyone else should be put in the frame for the senior job because he’s convinced Cody will remain at the helm.

“Yeah, I fully expect that,” said Brennan today at the launch of the EirGrid ‘Moments in time’ campaign in Croke Park.

“I gave up speculating about what Brian might do around 2013. He's a man that knows his own mind, definitely. He will reflect on it, he'll sit back, and he'll probably start with himself, that'll be the starting point for him.

“He'll ask himself those questions before he starts looking at the players. And once he knows what he wants then he'll push on then.

“He'll probably look at it and say regardless of what happens with the U-21s, there's the nucleus of a group of fellas coming through that can certainly develop. There's potential in them, it's just how that potential is harness and developed that's the key to it.

“I would expect more than ever that Brian will be back at the helm again next year.”

Brennan knows the calibre of young talent coming through in the county better than most having managed the Kilkenny U-21 team to Leinster Championship success last week.

Kilkenny captain Pat Lyng and his team-mates celebrate their Leinster U-21 Hurling Final victory.
Kilkenny captain Pat Lyng and his team-mates celebrate their Leinster U-21 Hurling Final victory.

He’s confident the conveyor belt is still as healthy as ever in the county, but cautions it may take a couple of years for the emerging generation to fully establish themselves as senior inter-county players.

“Ah there is, there's good work being done at underage,” said Brennan.

“We hit a blip where you had your Wexfords and Dublins really dominating the underage Leinster Championships, both at minor and U-21 level.

“That was the challenge for us this year, particularly with the U-21s, to get them competitive again and try to get a provincial crown which is just invaluable.

“So, there is good talent there. St. Kieran's have been leading the charge at Colleges level and CBS have been close to them. There are definitely good players coming through, but if you look at Brian's tenure as a manager he has been slow or reluctant to graduate fellas.

“It's been a gradual process and it does take time because there is a big, big difference to playing minor hurling  and adult hurling. Certainly there's a few players there he can do that with.

“You look at both the minor in the next two to three years, there's good players coming through there that should be able to supplement the senior set-up.

“Certainly it'll take a year or two, who knows, but the raw material is there, it's just about how quickly you can get them to adapt, progress and develop, that's the key to it.”

Brennan was disappointed but not all that surprised by Kilkenny’s defeat to Waterford on Saturday.

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody.
Kilkenny manager Brian Cody.

Going into the game he was worried a lack of confidence as well as a degree of battle-weariness made them a vulnerable team.

“Looking at the match it was probably a miracle they clawed back a draw from where they were,” he said. “With 12 or 13 minutes to go Kilkenny were gasping for air at that stage and Waterford almost started retreating.

"It just shows the resilience that's in the group to claw that back. For me that was a stunning finish to that match. To get a draw from that position was I thought phenomenal because they have just been lacking in confidence at the moment, they haven't been playing well.

"Maybe it's just a culmination of factors where fatigue is starting to kick in and they've had a couple of hard years. And maybe just, look, sometimes as players you struggle for motivation for whatever reason.

“It's not down to that they don't want to win, it's just that sometimes the motivation just isn't there. And I just thought in the build-up to it if there was ever an opportunity for Waterford, this was it.

"That's not just talking about the result after it happened, I felt all week that it was a huge challenge for the Kilkenny seniors to get confidence into them for the week because I was at the Limerick match and didn't think they played particularly well.

"That's not being critical, it's just an observation and I felt it was going to be very hard to pick up and get forwards to play with confidence when they hadn't been playing with confidence all year.

 "In a way, it was just as great opportunity for Waterford. They almost passed it up, but in fairness to them they finished it when it mattered."