ONE of the more fascinating matchups at GAA Headquarters today will actually be on the sideline, where Brian Cody and John Kiely will be on duty.
By his own admission, Kiely will never achieve the longevity that Cody has enjoyed with Kilkenny – he is now over 20 years at the helm and is chasing a 12th All-Ireland Championship as manager – which is not a startling admission as the famed son of Galbally is only in year five of his tenure, albeit one that has already yielded three annexations of the Liam MacCarthy Cup.
Cody has been around for a while, and was his county’s minor captain in the year Kiely arrived into this world (1972). The former turned 68 earlier this week and the latter reached the half-century age mark a couple of months back, with neither occasion marked by any celebratory outings of note.
Of the decider, Cody reasoned: “I know for a fact that in people’s minds we don’t have a very strong chance and Limerick are very strong favourites. So, from that point of view obviously it’s a huge challenge. There’s no doubt about that.”
However, it’s not as if he will settle on coming out second best to Kiely, who takes his team to the All-Ireland final with a championship record of 21 wins, three draws and four defeats since the outset of 2018, one loss of which was the ’19 semi-final to Kilkenny, which still hurts.
Kiely opined: “For Kilkenny to have done what they did was a serious stamp of authority. They were devastating in terms of their ruthlessness and their efficiency on the ball and obviously in the tackle as well.
“They’re Leinster champions. They beat Galway in the Leinster final and we knew how hard it was to get the better of Galway in the finish. Kilkenny’s performances have been incrementally getting better as the season has gone on. It’s going to be a huge challenge.”