Kilkenny manager Brian Cody was in sparkling form on stage at the Dunamaise Arts Centre last Thursday night when he fielded questions from RTE’s Damien O’Reilly and members of the audience.
In the course of a wide ranging interview organised to raise funds for Rosenallis GAA club, Cody spoke frankly about hurling, management and the GAA.
Asked by O’Reilly why he had a former Laois footballer at the heart of his backroom team Cody was fulsome in his praise of Laois native and Kilkenny mentor, Michael Dempsey. He described Dempsey as having a “unique instinct for what makes an athlete along with the capacity to bring the best out in sportsmen.”
In remarks that were widely reported in the national press he expressed his outright opposition to the notion that GAA managers should be paid, “No way should managers be paid at all,” he said. “Absolutely not. It would be a disaster. If that were to happen, it would resurrect the potential for players and everyone else being paid.”
“I choose to do this. It’s not a sacrifice. It’s a choice I made. It’s not even remotely a sacrifice. It’s the same with players. I don’t feel sorry for inter-county players. I envy them.”
The Kilkenny manager didn’t rubbish the notion that the Cats play close to the edge of the rulebook in terms of the physicality of their game. “When you get on the hurling pitch you have to be prepared for anything that will be thrown at you.”
Commenting on individual players he said he reserves his judgment on them until they retire. In that regard, he described DJ Carey as “the most complete hurler I have ever seen. In terms of skill, instinct and teamwork he was second to none.”
Speaking of training and motivation Cody has little time for the more exotic practices currently in vogue in some counties. “The notion of getting fellows up at the crack of dawn to run up a mountain is not something I believe in. A good night’s sleep might be more important. To me its all about having players, management, and everybody else in the camp thinking the same way, chasing the same goal and sharing a common bond in pursuing it.”
Commending Rosenallis GAA club on their efforts to build up their club facilities he spoke warmly about the importance of the club and its central role in the GAA. Referring to his home club, James Stephen’s, also known as ‘The Village,’ he said. “I’m a Village man first and Kilkenny manager second.”
At the end of the evening, Rosenallis GAA Chairman, Thomas Redmond thanked Brian Cody and Damien O’Reilly for being so generous with their time and giving their services free of charge. On behalf of the club, Vice Chairman, David Redmond presented Brian Cody with a hand crafted wooden replica of the Liam McCarthy cup while Louise Donlon of the Dunamaise presented Damien O’Reilly with a copy of the John Feehan’s book, The Landscape of the Slieve Blooms.