Tommy Dickson/INPHO Kilkenny's TJ Reid celebrates after the game.
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'He's nearly 34 and his fitness levels are top class' - Cody marvels at TJ Reid's leadership
The Cats star is showing no signs of slowing down despite his advancing years.

IT SAYS A lot about TJ Reid’s conditioning that he wasn’t among the aching bodies forced off with cramp or exhaustion during the 100-minute marathon Leinster semi-final on Saturday evening. 

At 33-years-old, Reid clearly benefits from being the proprietor of his own gym. His continued excellence shows that inter-county players can perform at the top level well into their 30s if they look after themselves and avoid major injuries. 

The Ballyhale Shamrocks veteran finished the absorbing extra-time defeat of Wexford with a 16-point haul. 

His contribution to the game wasn’t limited to placed balls. Reid’s four points from play included a first-half score that arrived after a stunning catch over Matthew O’Hanlon.

“It is a terrific contribution,” gushed Cody afterwards. “He’s nearly 34 and his fitness levels are top class. Everyone knows his talent is superb.

“He shows great leadership and ability then, his free-taking is almost always impeccable, pressure frees. It was so important, the fact that he was so fresh at the end of the match, serious.

“It’s a huge ask, to go for 70 minutes. It’s physically demanding. To go for a 100, which I suppose it was at the end of the day, is very demanding and it’s a great reflection on Mickey (Comerford) as physical trainer and all our physios, medical team and everybody.

“And it’s a massive reflection on the players themselves because for so long they were doing the work themselves with Covid and everything else and they stuck religiously to it.

“They had the programmes from Mickey and they went and they trained and they put in the work and the results were seen today in the conditioning they have. Mickey does deserved great credit for that.”

And while Reid continues to lead Kilkenny, his club mate Eoin Cody has developed into one of their leading marksmen from play. He had five points to his name before striking for a 68th minute goal that looked like it might send Kilkenny on their way. 

He might have added further scores earlier in the day had he not struck a post and been blocked down brilliantly by Kevin Foley, but overall it was an impressive outing.  

“The turning point was the sheer refusal of our players to lie down to stop and to never say the game is gone, and to keep fighting and fighting and fighting,” reflected Cody.

“That was the turning point, that was required several times.”

Dublin’s upset win over Galway means they’ll face the Cats in a repeat of the 2014 Leinster final. 

Kilkenny will count the cost of victory before they turn their attentions to Mattie Kenny’s side. 

“It was savage preparation, we have to look at injuries because we have a few who had to go out, strains or pulls, we’ll see how they are,” added Cody. 

“That kind of a match is savage preparation for the game we play in two weeks time and definitely our training will have to be tapered to cater for that because definitely fellas will not recover from that game for a few days for sure.

“I know how good Dublin are, they are a serious team. And Galway are a serious team, showing good form. Would I have said Galway will definitely win the game beforehand, no I wouldn’t.”

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