The question has been asked a bit over the last few years, but now it needs an answer – who replaces Brian Cody as Kilkenny senior hurling manager?
We’re lead to believe it was touch-and-go at the tail end of 2021 until we heard Henry Shefflin was making tracks for Galway and Brian Cody was heading up the Cats’ 2022 campaign. Every year it’s the same – will he stay or will he go? On Saturday, he went.
Yes, the rumblings were there earlier in the week but as Wednesday and Thursday passed without notice, it was clear any announcements would be made on Cody time, just like they’ve always been.
It will take a few days for the dust to settle, there will be more articles, more column inches, more air time dedicating to honouring and dissecting Cody’s tenure as KIlkenny senior hurling manager but the conversation will ultimately focus in on who comes next.
There’ll be a selection committee, there’ll be interviews, hushed words in clubhouses and on sidelines as the club championship gets underway at the end of the month. It’ll be the talk of the terrace in Nowlan Park and a hot topic of conversation around the Kells Road. Those conversations may also continue around Urlingford, Ballyhale, Dunnamaggin, Ballycallan and more as certain names get drawn into the conversation.
Or maybe the deal is already done. Only time will tell.
7 candidates to replace Brian Cody
In alphabetical order by surname, for no other reason, here are some of the names that are in the mix, at least for now, to replace Brian Cody and become Kilkenny’s first senior managerial appointment this century. Yes, in 2022.
One thing’s for sure – Kilkenny won’t be looking beyond the county for a replacement, no matter what the pedigree.
1. Eddie Brennan
The Graigue-Ballycallan clubman has been there before, at Under 21 level with Kilkenny. He cut his teeth with inter-county senior management by overseeing Laois to a Joe McDonagh final before departing Laois for then-Dublin champions Cuala for the 2021 season. He’s been named as a possible successor to Mattie Kenny and is likely on the shortlist for the vacant Waterford gig as well.
2. DJ Carey
DJ Carey would have been a favourite to replace Brian Cody in recent years though his departure from Cody’s backroom team in recent seasons may have changed opinion in some courts. He’s been doing great things with IT Carlow’s Fitzgibbon Cup team in recent seasons too. Carey was over the Under 20s before Derek Lyng hit the scene. His son, Mikey, is part of the current panel and has made the number four jersey his own this year though a post on social media earlier this week suggests he has plans beyond inter-county hurling with the Cats.
3. Brian Dowling
An interesting scenario presents itself with Brian Dowling. Like everyone else on this list, Dowling has hurled and won All-Ireland medals under Brian Cody. He was part of the backroom team for Kilkenny’s 2019 All-Ireland senior camogie tilt, losing the final that year to Galway before taking over as manager from Ann Downey in 2020 and securing an All-Ireland title in his first year in charge. He took Kilkenny to the semi-finals in 2021 and as of Saturday night has a much-depleted Kilkenny team back in an All-Ireland final against Cork.
4. Michael Fennelly
While Scoreline understands that Fennelly has committed to a third year at the helm of Offaly’s senior hurlers having guided them to the Joe McDonagh Cup final this season, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that we could see Fennelly on the sidelines in UPMC Nowlan Park. Like Brennan, he’s got another two years of inter-county experience under his belt and soldiered under Cody from 2006 through 2017. The developments in Offaly, particularly at minor grade, might add more fuel to his current project but he’ll be in the conversation nonetheless.
5. David Herity
Herity is working wonders with Kildare and is believed to have agreed a multi-year extension to his stay with the Lilywhites last summer. He’s just wrapped his fourth term in charge, clinching the Christy Ring cup earlier this year to return Kildare to the Joe McDonagh Cup for 2023. Before 2018 he’d spent some time as Dublin camogie boss and having previously been Kilkenny’s last line of defence as well, he’ll know what it takes to results and games over the line.
6. Derek Lyng
Lyng’s name is likely the first on everyone’s lips this week given after what he’s been able to achieve with the county’s Under 20 hurlers in what’s been described as a “very Cody-esque” performance over the campaign, showing the ability of players to grind out results through sheer grit and determination when it comes down to it. He’s been there on the sidelines with Cody for five or six years and has tasted All-Ireland success with the next generation of players this season
7. Henry Shefflin
Very possibly the people’s choice, Shefflin headed west in 2021 when – in something of a surprise to most – he was named as Galway senior hurling manager for the 2022 and 2023 campaigns.
Before that, Henry had been overseeing Thomastown following a two-year stint over Ballyhale which lead to another run of county, provincial and club All-Ireland victories for the Shamrocks.
We would be as surprised as anyone if Henry popped up in UPMC Nowlan Park only to be announced as the new Kilkenny senior hurling manager. Barely a year into his stay with Galway, it’s felt that Shefflin will at the very least see out his initial two-year term with Galway unless something dramatic happens. An All-Ireland win this year would have likely swayed that decision early doors but for Galway to be beaten by Kilkenny in the provincial decider before losing out to Limerick in the semi-finals.
While Galway won’t be in any rush to get him out the door, would they stand in his way if the Kilkenny job came to pass? It would sure save a lot of driving across the country for the year…
Sound off on Facebook, tweet @ScorelineSport or text/Whatsapp 083 3069696 wth your thoughts and comments as to who you think may be the next Kilkenny senior hurling manager.