Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Pat Nolan

Inside the highs and lows of Brian Cody's reign as Kilkenny boss

Brian Cody has finally called it a day as Kilkenny manager after a legendary reign.

Cody won 11 All-Ireland titles during his reign and will undoubtedly go down as the greatest manager of all time.

And it was a rollercoaster with many highs and lows during his reign as we have a look at Cody's career.

2000: Wins first All-Ireland

After losing the 1998 All-Ireland final and then the ‘99 decider to Cork in Cody’s first season at the helm, a third loss on the trot was unthinkable.

As it was, Kilkenny were never in danger in the 2000 final against Offaly and Cody was up and running with the first of his 11 All-Irelands.

2001: Title surrendered in All-Ireland semi-final to Galway

The five-point defeat to Galway was arguably the most traumatic of Cody’s Kilkenny tenure and had a profound effect on his managerial outlook.

“It was an incredibly frustrating day for me because I didn’t have to look very far for the reason we performed so badly,” he wrote in his 2009 autobiography. “It was all down to me.”

He added: What happened against Galway left me with a horrible, empty feeling. It was my job to have the team ready - mentally and physically - for whatever was thrown at them and the simple truth is that we just weren’t ready for what Galway brought to Croke Park that day.”

2002: Back on top

With Peter Barry at centre-back, Henry Shefflin at centre-forward and Martin Comerford introduced at full-forward, a remodelled Kilkenny team stormed to the All-Ireland against Clare following an epic win over Tipperary in the semi-final, their first in the Championship over their great rivals since 1967.

2004: Three-in-a-row dreams dashed

Having beaten Cork in the 2003 final, the Rebels turned the tables in the 2004 final with a decisive eight-point win.

Kilkenny had been running on fumes for much of the campaign after suffering a shock defeat to Wexford in the Leinster semi-final.

2006: Revenge on Cork

With Cork going for the treble in 2006, Kilkenny exacted revenge with a fresh young side that blew the Rebels out of Croke Park, marking the end of one era and the beginning of another.

Given Kilkenny’s age profile, they weren’t likely to be going away any time soon.

2008: Three-in-a-row

A landmark performance from Kilkenny as they secured the three-in-a-row with a near astonishing 23-point demolition of Waterford.

Across Cody’s 24 seasons, Kilkenny scarcely produced a better display.

2009: Four-in-a-row

Arguably the greatest spectacle of Cody’s reign and his finest moment.

Kilkenny rode their luck coming down the stretch in a truly momentous encounter, as goals from Shefflin (penalty) and Comerford edged Tipperary out in a classic final.

After Cork 1941-44, it was just the second four-in-a-row in hurling history.

2010: Drive for five goes off course

Another hugely memorable final against Tipperary but there was no joy for Kilkenny this time and Lar Corbett’s hat-trick ended their hopes of becoming the first team in GAA history to win five-in-a-row.

Injuries to Shefflin and Brian Hogan in the build-up proved to be an unhelpful sideshow.

2011: Revenge on Tipp

With a youthful Tipp side having been tipped to rule the game after their 2010 triumph, Kilkenny turned the tables and scored a victory the following year that was more comfortable than the four-point margin suggested. One of Cody’s greatest victories.

2013: After Cody stepped back for a number of weeks to undergo a heart procedure, Kilkenny struggled with injury and form through the 2013 Championship, with a quarter-final defeat to Cork adding up to their worst showing since 1996.

A rousing qualifier win over Tipperary at Nowlan Park meant the year wasn’t a complete write-off, however.

2015: Back-to-back champions again

Probably the greatest feat of Cody’s management was to win successive All-Irelands in 2014 and ‘15 off the fumes of his great four-in-a-row side. The talent pool wasn’t nearly as deep as in previous years but his ability to extract every last drop, and then some, from what was at his disposal meant that they overcame that considerable handicap.

2016: Tipp turn the tables

There wouldn’t be another three-in-a-row as a rampant Tipperary, and Seamus Callanan in particular, cut loose in the 2016 final on a day when Cody’s tactical limitations were exposed.

It was Tipp’s first win over Kilkenny in Championship hurling in six attempts.

2019: Greatest victory, biggest defeat

After failing to make the last four in both 2017 and ‘18, Kilkenny returned to the semi-final in 2019 and scored a sensational win over Limerick. It remains their last defeat in Championship hurling.

It was the ultimate Cody performance and arguably the single-greatest victory of his entire reign.

Richie Hogan’s red card in the final opened the door to a 14-point defeat to Tipperary however, their biggest under Cody in Championship.

2022: The final stand

An erratic Leinster campaign prefaced a highly polished semi-final win over Clare to send Cody and Kilkenny into his 17th All-Ireland final, though a brave performance still came up two points short as Limerick completed the three-in-a-row.

It proved to be Cody’s last game at the helm.


Get the latest sports headlines straight to your inbox by signing up for free email alerts

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.