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Brian Cody on Michael Bublé: 'He was a good hurler in his time'

Cody took a light-hearted view of Bublé’s Croke Park concert sending the Leinster final replay to Thurles.

GIVEN THE INTENSE battle that took place on the Croke Park turf half an hour earlier, Brian Cody was unusually relaxed in his post-game briefing with the media.

Brian Cody after the game ended in a draw Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The match itself was a bit of an arm wrestle, but Kilkenny displayed great fighting spirit to claw their way back to level terms with the last three scores of the game.

Because Michael Bublé is playing a concert at headquarters on Saturday night, the decision was made by the Leinster Council to send the replay to Thurles. It means we’ll have the unusual scenario of a Leinster team facing a Connacht side in a Munster venue for the Bob O’Keeffe Cup.

It will be the first time the Leinster final is held in a different province and the first Leinster hurling decider to be played outside of Croke Park since 1961.

Cody, who admitted he was unaware at the final whistle if extra-time was on the cards, had no issues with Semple Stadium being chosen as the venue for the rematch.

“It is in Thurles, very interesting,” he said. “It is all neutral. I don’t mind where it is on and when it is on – whenever the fixture is, we will turn up and we will play it.

“Who’s taking part in that concert?” he asked.

Michael Bublé.

“He’s played special junior for someone else years ago I think,” Cody joked. “He was a good hurler in his time.”

Cody had every reason to be in good form after the Cats did a job on Galway’s much-vaunted attack and held them to their lowest championship tally in the Micheal Donoghue era.

Conor Cooney with Paul Murphy and Padraig Walsh Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

He’s beginning to mould these young players in his image and they were a different side to the one that went down meekly by eight points in the round robin clash between these teams on 27 May in Salthill.

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“You are supposed to progress as the year goes on, it is the way the training works. But you can’t legislate for what is going to happen on any given day.

“I mean we would be hoping to be as competitive next Sunday but obviously it is going to be hugely difficult, but as regards how we played today, we would be hugely happy.

“The last day we were competitive to an extent, I suppose but in the end, they did pull away very, very well. You were expecting them to do that again today a few times but we rallied well and kept the battle going. Again, possibly with all the talk about it, they were thinking that they would win the game so they will be a hell of a lot tougher to beat or take on next Sunday.

“They will be warned now. When you are being talked up as really hot favourites as they were, sometimes, it can lead to a small bit of complacency. I am not saying that they were. But they are the top team, they are the ones with all the hurlers and they are going to be so difficult to beat again. We are not at that level yet.”

Cillian Buckley Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The hectic provincial round-robin schedule would have meant Cody couldn’t roll out his fabled Nowlan Park training matches during the early phase of the championship, but the three-week break before the final offered them the chance to do so.

The benefit of those few weeks build-up was evident in the Kilkenny work-rate and aggression from the first whistle on Sunday. On the tactics front, they employed wing-forwards Martin Keoghan and Richie Leahy effectively as wide midfielders who funnelled back when Galway attacked.

It allowed Cody’s side apply enough pressure out the field to force Galway into playing route-one ball into the full-forward line. That ploy was largely ineffective until Jonathan Glynn was introduced in the 57th minute and caused the Cats some issues.

Padraig Walsh was outstanding at full-back, James Maher and TJ Reid performed well, while Cody reserved special mention for the cohort of youngsters who only made their championship debuts this summer.

“It is a good indication of the kind of lads that they are,” the Kilkenny boss stated. “I have said it from the start of the year, I have good confidence in the lads we have. General opinion around the place, not even in our county, there is not a huge amount of expectation there.

“All we are at the end of the day, we are in the Leinster final, now we are in the replay of the Leinster final. And we will see what happens. But we were very decent today.

“That is where you find out about players, out there. You have to go out and sample it. And we had to sample it today.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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