GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
Brian Cody trusting old values ahead of Kilkenny's final tilt
Watch Tipperary vs Kilkenny live on Sky Sports on Sunday
Last Updated: 14/08/19 12:05am
With his 17th All-Ireland final as manager fast approaching, Brian Cody isn't suffering from any last-minute nerves.
Perched in Langton House Hotel, surrounded by members of the media as he offers his thoughts ahead of hurling's biggest day, the 11-time All-Ireland winner is at ease. He knows the drill.
"It's the same kind of feeling you get," he said of All-Ireland final day.
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"[Preparation hasn't changed] an awful lot, not a lot at all. Everybody can speculate and talk about differences and all the rest of it.
"You bring whatever you bring. Essentially, you prepare well, the team has to be physically up for it and prepared well physically which they are. Mentally as well as everything else and obviously the skill levels, it's the same thing - the fundamentals have to be looked after."
Indeed, he noted that mental preparation is what can separate teams.
"It's a huge part of the game," he mused. "The importance of your head on the day is crucial. Everybody is physically prepared and everybody is skill-wise, you're all prepared, but you've got to bring yourself to it and allow yourself to play."
One clash where they certainly got their preparations right was the semi-final win over Limerick two weeks ago. The Cats tore into the reigning champions right from the start, bursting into a nine-point lead, and John Kiely's charges were left shell-shocked after the opening exchanges.
"Everyone wants to get a good start," commented Cody in a characteristically coy manner, when asked just how pleasing his side's first-half showing against the Treaty was.
"You go out and you can never be sure what's going to happen but you try to obviously impose your game like every team goes out to try to impose their game on the opposition.
"Limerick went out with the same intention we went out with, and no matter who you're playing or what game is on, everybody wants to do that.
"But the game lasts a long time, you know. We got a good start but at half-time we were only two points ahead. So, like, your period of dominance can come at the beginning, the middle, or the end or whatever it is. The object of the exercise is to finish ahead at the final whistle."
Nonetheless, one thing was abundantly clear from that Saturday evening in Croke Park - amidst the tactical revolution the sport has seen in recent years, Cody's core values remain as important as ever.
"The fundamentals are - it's a game of skill, first and foremost, it's a game of physicality, athleticism, pace, energy and all of those things, commitment and determination," he outlined.
"You can't dilute those things. Then you can bring whatever tactics you want that you believe are going to help you to implement those fundamentals as best you possibly can. That's every manager's prerogative to do that. That's what everybody does but the fundamentals are absolute in my opinion."
On Sunday, Cody faces Tipperary in the All-Ireland final for the seventh time, and through experience he knows nothing will come easily.
"They're excellent hurlers - always have been and always will be," he said of the Premier County.
"Tipperary, no matter what you say, all you have to do is look at the last day. Down to 14 men with 25 minutes to go and playing against Wexford who were flying and the response from Tipperary was outstanding, what they brought to it.
"And the confidence that will bring as a result of that as well is going to be massive for them.
"That's no surprise in that they have all that ability and terrific skill, great experience. It's a huge challenge for us, definitely."
Brian Cody is no stranger to hurling's biggest day. Indeed, he's won more All-Ireland titles than any other manager in the history of the game. Yet even against such an illustrious backdrop of success, a win over Tipperary on Sunday would be right up their with his greatest achievements.
Sky Sports' GAA coverage continues on Sunday as Tipperary and Kilkenny face off in the All-Ireland hurling final.