Unsurprisingly, Brian Cody was far from emotional following his side’s entertaining draw with Wexford in the Walsh Cup on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the return of large crowds and two committed teams going hell for leather at Chadwick’s Wexford Park giving a pre-season game in January the feel of an intense championship battle, the Kilkenny manager was analytical and composed when reflecting on an amazing tie.
While the result means Wexford advance to next weekend’s decider at the expense of Kilkenny, Cody wasn’t overly concerned with his side’s Walsh Cup campaign coming to an end thanks to a late Conor McDonald point.
He said: “The draw means that we are not in the Walsh Cup final but I don’t think that is the end of the world.
” I was very pleased that we fought back well after a tough period and we’re happy that we didn’t accept defeat and we never gave up.”
The Leinster champions’ full attention now turns to Division 1 Group B of the National Hurling League with an opening round game with Antrim at UPMC Nowlan Park to look forward to on Sunday, February 6.
The 11-time All-Ireland winning manager is of the opinion that the league is the perfect way to prepare for this summer’s championship.
“We need the competitive games that we are about to get in the league.
“These games and the league are ultimately about preparation for the championship but the league is hugely important in itself so we’ll be treating it with the upmost respect as always,” Cody said.
The Walsh Cup fixtures with Laois and Wexford have allowed the Kilkenny management team to experiment with players playing in different positions and new players getting to don the famous black and amber jersey.
Although some new faces have starred over the last two weekend’s, the legendary manager said that the panel will be reduced out of necessity before the beginning of the Leinster championship.
“We’re in serious training now and like all teams we have a very big training panel with players being given opportunities.
“They know that we will eventually have to cut the panel because we can’t carry huge numbers throughout the year.
“Competition for places is strong and they realise that the battle for places is fierce.”
He also had a word for the Kilkenny side’s in All-Ireland semi-final action on Sunday as Mooncoin take on Salthill-Knocknacarra at 1.30pm in the junior competition before Ballyhale Shamrocks face Galway side St. Thomas’ at 3.30pm in Semple Stadium, Thurles.
“There will be two serious games tomorrow.
“I’ll be in Thurles watching the Shamrocks game because obviously I can’t get to both. They should be two really interesting games though and I’m looking forward to them.”
Both of those games will be live on KCLR on Sunday afternoon from 1.30pm.