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Derek Lyng: 'I wasn't expecting the call from Cody, but I didn't take long to say yes'

The retired midfielder says it’s not difficult to coach the players he soldiered with for years.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

KILKENNY COACH DEREK Lyng wasn’t expecting the call to join Brian Cody’s backroom team last September, but he says it was an easy decision once the offer was on the table.

The ex-Kilkenny midfielder, who won six All-Irelands with the Cats, joined the senior panel as a coach 12 months ago. While nothing can rival being out on the field when the final whistle goes, Lyng certainly enjoyed taking in their latest triumph on the sideline.

“It’s not something that I necessarily thought was on the horizon. It didn’t take long to think about it, it was a great opportunity to come in. First of all the effort is going to be there with players and how seriously they’ve taken hurling and the opportunity to work with Brian, James and Michael as well. It was a great opportunity and to win in the first year is great and we’re very happy.

“I love hurling, I love being involved in it and obviously passionate about Kilkenny as well so you’ve a chance again to get involved, you’re delighted to be part of it and I suppose nothing really beats playing but it’s not a bad feeling I have to say.”

While many players-turned coaches find the changing role difficult given the friendships that remain, Lyng says it wasn’t an issue because of the professionalism within the Kilkenny camp.

“I suppose I had to take that on board when I went in initially. The thing is those players, I know a lot of them very well and I know their attitude, their application, it really wouldn’t matter who is going through drills or whatever with them because their application has been super throughout their whole careers.

Brian Cody with Martin Dempsey and Derek Lyng Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“They’re the ones that are driving it and showing the example all the time. So it wasn’t a case that you’re going to have to cajole lads into doing something like that cos otherwise it wouldn’t be there in the first place because that’s not the way it works. Lads like that are kind of the drivers of the tearm and the panel for the last 10/15 years or so.”

Cody was lauded for the three changes he made to the Kilkenny team from the replay, where Kieran Joyce, Padraig Walsh and John Power all came in to have decisive impacts and steer the Cats to a 35th All-Ireland title.

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“They were super and all the backs were. When they were looking up at the forwards, the tackling that they were doing was super and that sets the tone for the whole team when you see the forwards tackling like that but the backs were super all throughout.

“They were attacking the ball and Tipp’s forwards are serious players and they hurled without fear I thought our backs. They attacked at the right time, they weren’t afraid of making mistakes.

“We would have felt that, from our point of view, they picked up too many handy scores around the field. Definitely the aim on Saturday was to tighten up a little bit more and keep the midfield a little busier and the forwards working a harder.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing it back, just to see how it went but the blocking and tackling was super, especially in the second half.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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