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23rd Jul 2022

JJ Delaney on how Brian Cody kept him grounded after Hurler of the Year honour

Patrick McCarry

Brian Cody

No-nonsense from Cody, as you’d expect!

Brian Cody has stepped down as Kilkenny hurling manager and, 24 years on, a new era will begin with a new man at the tiller.

The Cody accolades have, rightly, been flowing since the announcement was made, early on Saturday afternoon. Of all the playing and managerial glory he brought to the Cats – 11 All-Irelands, 18 Leinster SHC titles and 10 national league titles – the great players he progressed and pushed on is truly staggering.

During his time in charge, Kilkenny won 102 All Star awards [and that is before the 2022 batch are handed out]. He was also manager when these men won Hurler of the Year:

  • DJ Carey and Henry Shefflin (three times each)
  • JJ Delaney, Michael Fennelly, Tommy Walsh, Richie Hogan, TJ Reid

JJ Delaney won Hurler of the Year in 2003, after winning his second All-Ireland with the senior panel. In a discussion about Brian Cody on The GAA Hour, a few years back, Delaney brilliant recalled [from 36:00 below] how his old boss never let anyone get too carried away with trophies or accolades.

“Your warning was well and truly on the table!” – JJ Delaney

As the new Kilkenny panel got together, at the end of 2003, and set about retaining Liam MacCarthy, JJ Delaney never forgot how quickly Brian Cody had turned to a brand new page.

“I didn’t feel any different but Brian Cody made it his business to make sure the head wasn’t getting too big,” said Delaney.

“He would call you out on bits and pieces you were doing. I thought I was going well, okay, in the league but he made a point of saying, ‘Look, you’re not hurler of the year now. That year is over. It’s a new team. Fresh start, that’s it!’,” he said.

“That was Brian’s way of doing it. I didn’t think I was getting carried away. Maybe I was, unknown to myself, but, if I was, he wasn’t going to let that happen.

“That was his management style – your feet are going to be well and truly planted underneath the ground. Not on the ground. Underneath the ground!”

The Fenians clubman knew, all too well, that the hard work had to continue. He recalled that, only a couple of seasons before that personal accolade, Cody had ‘gotten rid of a couple of household names’.

“Your warning was well and truly on the table!” he remarked.

To Delaney, the way Cody operated was ‘no-one is bigger than the team’. If any member of the panel, during his time there, veered towards getting ahead of themselves, the boss man was never far away with a word or three to level them out.

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  • Playing GAA in America for a summer.

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