Brian Cody can’t give any more than what he has

Former Kilkenny star Christy Heffernan says there is a widespread feeling among keen observers from the county that Brian Cody “can’t give any more than what he has” in his position as senior hurling manager.

The 11-time All-Ireland SHC winning boss was reappointed for a 24th season in 2022 on Monday evening. It follows a second successive Leinster title this year but the team were once more defeated in an All-Ireland semi-final.

Cody will return with the same management team of James McGarry, Martin Comerford, and Conor Phelan but his former teammate Heffernan echoed another old colleague Richie Power’s sentiments last January in highlighting the need for a change.

“Going by the vibes around the place, most people feel he can’t give any more than what he has. He doesn’t owe the county anything and it is time for new ideas and fresh faces. They are the vibes I get from the passionate hurling people on the ground.

“I’m domiciled in Déise country but you hear it down here too. The team hasn’t progressed enough since 2019. The players are there but they don’t seem to be perfecting or executing the current style of play. You don’t have to ask me, ask yourself, why did (2020 selector) DJ Carey walk away?

“You look at what Liam Cahill has done with Waterford, beating the second favourites this year in Galway and then the champions of 2019, Tipperary. Liam has adapted to today’s game and the results are there to prove it.

“Brian was a great player and has been a phenomenal manager over the years but it does seem time to bring in new ideas and fresh blood. The main feeling in the county is that he doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone.”

Heffernan agrees there doesn’t appear to be many other people putting up their hands to take the position. “The selectors over time that have been in with Brian have moved on. Martin Fogarty was with him for a long time. Himself and Eddie Brennan would seem strong contenders. Henry (Shefflin) and Michael Fennelly would have to be mentioned too as options.”

Four-time All-Ireland winner Heffernan questions how multiple All-Ireland winners have been treated in the past couple of seasons. “We had Paul Murphy last year and he got no game time and he walked away with still plenty to offer. Colin Fennelly and Ger Aylward walked away too,” he said.

“Now Joey Holden didn’t play this year at all, a strong and experienced defender. Richie Hogan just got a few minutes and should have played in normal time against Cork. In saying that, Cork were the better team on the day.”

Glenmore man Heffernan believes Kilkenny rode their luck prior to that loss to Cork. “The way the Leinster championship went, if HawkEye wasn’t there, Conor McDonald would have beaten us and only for Covid, Dublin would performed much better in the final.

“He has given his heart and soul to Kilkenny hurling and you have to admire him for instilling such hunger and spirit within the teams he has managed not to mention the accolades he has achieved.

“It’s not just me, but at this stage it’s 2015 since we last won an All-Ireland. We never lost two back-to-back All-Ireland semi-finals ever. That was a first this year.”

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