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The greatest hurling coach of all-time was the label James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick happily tagged Brian Cody with during Sunday’s trophy presentation. And who can argue with that assessment?
“Terrific,” said the Kilkenny coach following his team’s disassembly of Waterford.
“Obviously, it’s a super feeling and that’s what it’s all about. That’s what this day is all about. The players were outstanding. They were terrific from start to finish.
“They were totally focused, obviously and they hurled at a very serious level. They got no more than what they put into their game. They’re serious players, they’re serious operators and they’re top class fellas and I’m absolutely delighted for them.”
And when Brian Cody concurs that this was indeed the greatest display of his astonishing managerial reign, it only served to re-enforce what we’d just witnessed: the perfect game from a remarkable team.
“To come [out] and hit the pitch running and give a display like that, it’s something that you’d love to be able to visualise beforehand. It was an outstanding performance without a shadow of a doubt.”
Did he envisage a display of such hurling majesty?
“I always see it coming, to be honest. It doesn’t surprise me when it comes. I can truthfully say that before any match that I’ve ever been involved with this team, and I’ve said it many, many times, that it’s a guarantee that we will give ourselves every chance to win the game.
“It’s a guarantee that we’ll perform. It’s a guarantee the players will work and when you know in your heart of hearts that the players bring that guarantee with them, then there’s always a chance that you’ll be in with a really good chance of winning – and they performed brilliantly.”
The joy of victory and the satisfaction of a job outstandingly well done remains an elixir that both he and his players cannot consume enough of.
“To be honest about it, the All-Ireland final is the day of days for hurlers,” Cody added.
“It’s the ultimate for hurlers and we don’t need any other motivation than to win the All-Ireland final any year. We came up two years ago and we played to a very, very high degree having not won the All-Ireland for a few years before that. We came up last year and it was a savage feeling after both days.”
Talk of three-in-a-row didn’t have the Kilkenny boss tossing and turning in the build-up to Sunday’s final, a build-up largely dominated by Waterford’s long-awaited return to the decider.
“Great sportspeople go out after whatever’s out there and naturally [the three-in-a-row] was a further motivation for some people, definitely,” he admitted.
“I think great players would go after something like a three-in-a-row because it had been talked about it and it had been difficult to achieve and great teams have tried it before and haven’t succeeded.
“But as a group, as a panel of players, it wasn’t needed to be spoken about for extra motivation because the motivation is from within.”
Whatever is within, there has never been a greater extractor of performances in the history of hurling than Brian Cody. Ominously, for the rest of us, the Kilkenny boss looks set to rule for many years to come – just like his remarkable team.