LISTEN: Brian Cody feels no player is indispensable to the Kilkenny team
How do you replace 48 All-Ireland medals
Four of the best sides in Ireland will convene in Nowlan Park tomorrow afternoon for the Allianz Hurling league semi's but it will be a strange feeling for many locals as fans from across the country invade the city for a few hours.
The natives may be feeling a sense of emptiness as they failed to make the latter stages of the league for the first time in a number of years.
The county just avoided relegation from Division 1A, which means that Brian Cody has a weekend off where he can sit back and enjoy the hurling action unfolding before him in what is normally his own personal fiefdom of Nowlan Park.
The Kilkenny boss is still trying to mould his squad after a winter and spring that saw six high profile departures such as Henry Shefflin,Tommy Walsh,Brian Hogan, David Herity and Aidan Fogarty and JJ Delaney all departed from the county scene.
Te Kilkenny boss was speaking today on Newstalk's Down to Business show with Bobby Kerr.
The three-time All-Ireland winning player admits that to be without that amount of experience is startling, but that he is not concerned about having lost almost 50 All-Ireland medals from his dressing room :
'There was such experience there and such talent there and obviously household names and great leaders for us over the past number of years. If you hear it like that, you'd wonder my goodness me, where are we going?'
'But the reality is now that you take on that challenge. We always talked about that panel being the most important thing and each and every one of those players you mentioned there none of them will see themselves as indispensable with regard to the panel.'
'We can't afford to live in the past. We remember what those players have done for us, but our challenge is to take on the year's championship and to work with the panel of players we have and work with players that we might bring in.'
Cody will enter this summer's championship for the first ever without Henry Shefflin in his armoury. The Ballyhale legend called time on his career last month and Cody feels that the forward's greatest quality was his leadership
'First of all I think he stood the test of time. That's a real sign of quality and someone who stands out that you have longevity in your career and he was there from 1999.'
'And he wasn't just there like but he was at to top of his game for that time was aleader on his the field,he was a leader in his club but a leader in the county team as well as a feared opponent. He also carried himself with great distinction on and off the field. hHe was a supreme sportsman and he was an absolute team player and you talk about individual accolades but it's how you represent the team and your workrate.'
'Like I said to Henry when he was finishing his career he got the absolute maximum out of his career and that's a difficult thing to do in anything be it business or sport. To say you couldn't have done it any better is a fair thing to say.'