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Ger Loughnane recalls Brian Cody’s ‘cold’ response to a young Henry Shefflin

Brian Cody

Ger Loughnane has recalled being stunned by Brian Cody’s “cold” response to a young Henry Shefflin who had starred in Kilkenny’s 2002 All-Ireland final triumph.

Cody’s 24-year spell as Kilkenny’s senior hurling manager came to an end with the county’s defeat to Limerick in this year’s All-Ireland final, although the 68-year-old will undoubtedly be remembered as the greatest manager in the history of the sport.

The Kilkenny boss won 11 All-Ireland titles and 18 Leinster titles during his time in charge of his native county, a trophy haul that is unlikely to ever be matched, and he demanded the absolute best from his players at all times.

Loughnane spent some time with Cody after Kilkenny defeated his Clare side in the 2002 All-Ireland final and revealed in his column for the Irish Daily Star just how harsh he could be to his own players.

Ger Loughnane on Brian Cody.

“I went to the Clare function for a while that night and then headed back to the Burlington Hotel, where I was staying. That turned out to be where Kilkenny were having their victory banquet,” Loughnane wrote.

“I said to myself, ‘Sure, I’ll have a word with Cody’. We were chatting away and Henry Shefflin came into our company. Henry was just a young lad at the time. He’d won the man of the match award and was clearly chuffed.

“But Cody just turned to him and said, ‘You hit that shot the only place [Davy] Fitzgerald could save it, never let me see you do that again’. Henry’s face just dropped. I stuck around for another minute or two and then headed up to my room.

“I couldn’t make sense of it, how cold Cody was to a player who had performed heroics for him that day. That coldness and ruthlessness was very much part of his make-up.

“A lot of players will feel they owe him a huge debt, but I don’t think many – if any – would regard him as a friend.”

The Cats are on the hunt for a new manager for the first time since 1998.

While Cody’s style of management may have been abrasive, there’s no doubt that it proved to be extremely effective throughout his entire stint as Kilkenny’s manager.

Whoever succeeds Cody as Kilkenny manager will have a lot to live up to, although it is now seven years since the Cats were last crowned as All-Ireland champions.

Several Kilkenny players who served under Cody have become managers themselves since they hung up their boots, with Shefflin, Eddie Brennan, Michael Fennelly, Derek Lyng, DJ Carey and David Herity all involved in management.

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