Cody….. Just one more year?
by Premierview Poster Black and Amber
Christy Heffernan in the Examiner last week, said it was time for Cody to go, along the lines of that new ideas were needed, that the team have not developed since 2019 and style of hurling just hasn’t adapted to the modern reality. Richie Power Snr and Jnr had a go last year along similar lines.
Look, there’s no doubt that the man has had ridiculous success that will unlikely ever be matched. We haven’t won an AI in 6 years after most of the greats had retired, and yet we’ve still managed to win 3 provincials, 2 leagues (albeit one shared) and reach two AI finals (albeit well beaten in both) in those 6 seasons, which is better than most counties, and a record plenty would be glad to have.
In Cody’s tenure we’ve never gone two seasons in a row without a trophy, and that’s still the case today.
So at the very least we’re very competitive, capable of beating anyone on our day, and pick up trophies regularly. And Cody has to be recognized for that.
But there’s a growing feeling in the county that the game has moved on, that we’re slipping at a rate of knots and that he has to go in order for us to move on. He just hasn’t moved with the times, and as a county we’ve become stale in our approach and development, and predicable in our hurling and tactics.
New blood, new ideas, new voices are needed, and as long as Cody stays at the top of the pile and his philosophy is what governs how we hurl, then we’re not going to be winning AI’s.
I think what’s more eye opening for Kilkenny fans is the way some of the clubs are playing, some of them are well ahead in thinking and style of the county team, and some of the players that look burdened in the county setup look free and playing in teams where the tactics try to make the most of their hurling.
Cody has his system and lads have to fit into his system, whereas other county teams (and some of our club sides) have their systems too but make allowances for individual strengths to get the most out of them.
The questions are being asked out loud, and unless there’s an AI next year from Kilkenny then I don’t think people will be happy for him to go on.
And everything we’ve seen in the last few seasons would suggest that in terms of how we play the game, the predictable tactics, his response to things happening on the field, his use of subs, and strength/conditioning (that’s a county issue, all our teams seem to wilt in the final 15 minutes of games) that these things combined means Cody is no longer getting the best out of the players, or capable of making tactical changes to suit, so likely there’ll be no All-Ireland.
I’d say 2022 will be his last year. And he’ll go with our thanks and gratitude for a quarter of a century of service, a shit-load of silverware, and more cracking matches than we can remember. Even in the off chance we win the AI he should go, regardless of whether it’s a walk or a push.
If he decides to stay past new year
Whether they’re good enough to win the AI in the next few years is one question, and a fair enough one. Personally, I don’t know if they are good enough, at times they look it, more often they don’t.
Another question is Cody getting the most out of that squad or of what’s available?
There’s plenty of good players available, certainly to make a good enough squad to be capable of beating anyone on their day. And I don’t think Cody is getting the best out of them.
– I think we’re lacking on fitness/conditioning that other top sides seem to have, we seem to wilt in the last 15 minutes of games.
– We simply don’t a have a puckout strategy, beyond lump it down the field.
– We have started varying our play a bit more, and we look a bit more potent when we do. But in virtually every game at some point we hit a point where we just play lump it forward, and end up getting cleaned out. How a manager can repeatedly watch that happen and not take action is criminal.
– The regular static nature of our HF forwards. Lumping the ball down on them means that unless they win clean possession they won’t have a run at goal. What tactics regarding movement is there to get the Hal Forward line on the ball more in order to get them to create chances as forwards should?
– There’s a consistent lack of reaction to changes in games, whether it red cards, the opposition changing tactics to get on top, etc.
– Our use of subs at times is chronic. Bringing lads on with 5 minutes to go, when lads are tiring at 50 minutes is idiotic. Never mind bring on lads with no pace while lads that can cover ground sit on the bench.
– Our defence is generally good, but far too often lacks support from midfield, which sees them get opened up through the middle, and concede goals.
Ditto our Half Forward line, which gets out-numbered under breaking ball. Every other county has a midfield who’s main job is to support the Half lines, particularly the Half Back line. Ours seem to stay static in midfield.
– Our point taking from distance is well short of other teams accuracy at times. It’s not that lads can’t hit the ball just as well, but it looks like we don’t work on it as much as others. It means we tend to have to work harder for our points.
Now all of the above have been problems that have been around for a few years now. Anyone looking at Kilkenny play in recent seasons can see that. If we can see it, so can Cody. So, the question has to be asked, why hasn’t Cody solved the repeating problems we can all see?
Whether someone else can do it, or if the players are up to it, I don’t know. In cold analysis, if the above problems were addressed, I reckon we have the talent to be well capable of beating anyone, but equally anyone could beat us as we lack outstanding talent.
An All Ireland would be possible, but not likely. But our chances certainly wouldn’t be harmed in addressing the problems that have been obvious for a while. And increasingly Cody doesn’t look like doing that.
So is Cody getting the best out of what’s available? Not in my opinion, and the feeling is growing around the county.