Former young hurler of the year and All-Star Eoin Cody,is gearing up for a different kind of challenge this festive season.
The accomplished player, a four-time Leinster Championship winner with the Cats and a three-time AIB All-Ireland Club winner with Ballyhale Shamrocks, is set to participate in the AIB Goal Mile, a charitable event aimed at supporting vulnerable communities.
Cody, who recently experienced an unexpected break from competitive hurling after Ballyhale Shamrocks narrowly missed securing their sixth consecutive county title, spoke about the disappointment of the loss and the valuable downtime it provided. Reflecting on the team’s journey, Cody remarked, “Yeah, obviously, you say we were unlucky, missing a few key players, got to where we were, and we were within one point to win the game. We were very disappointed after the game, but yeah, we were very proud of what we had achieved on that journey of the five years, and we were so close.”
Despite the setback, Cody acknowledged the unforeseen achievements of the team in reaching the final. “At the start of the year, no one probably predicted we would even get that far in terms of Kilkenny. Obviously, people outside of Kilkenny, wouldn’t say we were written off. No, in terms of Kilkenny, the guys we were missing, and people that are local understand how good of an achievement it actually was for us to get there and to be so close.”
With this unplanned break from competitive action, Cody found himself with a rare opportunity for reflection and self-improvement. “It’s my first time having that bit of downtime, that I’m not involved in the AIB Club Championship since I’ve been on the Ballyhale senior team. It gave me a lot of time to reflect, obviously, but it’s given me time to maybe focus on other things and other aspects of my life. It’s given me time to maybe give that extra bit of study, and then, obviously, with Kilkenny, it gave me time to do that extra bit of gym work and that extra bit of fitness work as well.”
In the absence of the usual competitive pressures associated with this time of year, Cody emphasized the pure enjoyment of hurling during the winter months. “There’s not much mentally to our hurling with Ballyhale this time of year, it’s just pure enjoyment. In the last couple of years, when it came this time of year, we really just enjoyed the journey. We really didn’t put any emphasis on winning games or have to do this after that, whereas there was no real pressure, we really just enjoyed the run, enjoyed each other’s company over the winter months, enjoyed the training.”
While Cody acknowledged the break in terms of games, he stressed that the love for hurling and the sport itself remains undiminished. “So, I don’t think there’s much of a break because we’re back straight in with Kilkenny. It’s just going to be a different run-in to the inter-county season for me.”
As Cody prepares for the AIB Goal Mile, his involvement not only underscores his commitment to charitable causes but also showcases the multifaceted nature of the athlete’s life. Beyond the intense competition on the hurling field, Eoin Cody demonstrates a willingness to give back to the community, making a positive impact off the pitch during the festive season.