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Defence gave us platform for glory, says Brian Cody

By Declan Bogue

Behold Brian Cody. Winner of three All-Ireland titles as a player, 10 as a manager. Perhaps one of the finest coaches in any sport.

If you come looking for stardust though, you will be disappointed. He likes to keep his business on the down low, doesn't facilitate anyone that might wish to God him up.

Sweetest title ever? It being your 10th and all?

"This one is the sweetest now because it is won today. That's how it works, each one is the sweetest as they happen. Today was brilliant, it was a superb win. The performance was excellent, outstanding I thought."

And it was built, as so many great sports teams are, from the back. Cody made two changes in the backline for the replay, with replacement Kieran Joyce going on to underpin everything good about their resistance to a Tipp attack that can be simply irresistible.

"I thought the standard of defending was on a level that was very difficult to see because the closing down and the blocking that was done, the game had not gone 30 seconds when we had got in three blocks at both ends of the field," Cody marvelled.

"That typifies for me what hurling is about because that is one of the best skills of all in the game. It is not too difficult to play when you have the ball in lots of ways, when you don't have the ball you have to try and make sure you get it back."

Henry Shefflin tips into the room and sits beside Cody. Well, one seat away. He has also reached double figures on this day.

"I'd love to say it felt different but it didn't feel any different at all," he grins.

"At that stage all you want is for Brian Gavin to blow the whistle so that you are All Ireland champions.

"It's just self-satisfaction and relief that it's finally over and you are champions.

"It's that feeling....subs and extended panel, when they come flying onto the field, lads like Geoff Brennan and Joe Brennan, brothers who are not able to tog out unfortunately, they do as much as we do and every other county team has those players as well so it's about that moment, yes, it's worthwhile for us all."

As you might expect, Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea went deeply philosophical in the face of defeat.

"My belief is that we have left the Championship a better place," he said.

"We worked really hard to get ourselves up to what we consider to be a top level. We achieved it to the level we wanted in probably one game.

"But I can't tell you how hard the team worked to try to be the best they could. It doesn't come out in results and you can't report it and it doesn't turn up in a score line.

"But in terms of what the team really did try to do, I can only say that from my involvement with them, they certainly are a credit to sport."

And what can you say to that, only that they all are.

Belfast Telegraph


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