Cody’s influence plain for all to see in Brennan’s Laois success
By COLIN BARTLEY
THE TEAM that ended Galway’s challenge for Liam McCarthy, has been dumped out to the championship by a tier-two team, a team being managed by one of Brian Cody’s legendary players – Eddie Brennan.
When Brennan took on the role of Laois manager, he walked into a mess. The Laois club final last year saw a player hospitalised and serious bad blood between those two sets of players. This was commonplace for Laois hurling.
The first thing Eddie tried to do when he took on the role of Laois manager was getting a panel together. He must have been shocked to see so many players refusing the call. That would never happen in Kilkenny. He was entering a different hurling world.
A world where this result, Cork 10-20 v Laois 1-13 in 2011, was still engrained in the psyche, a psyche Brennan had to address.
Last season, Laois played in the relegation match to drop down to the Christy Ring, and now instead with Brennan’s input, Laois are looking at their first quarter-final in the hurling championship since 1979.
Speaking to RTE after Laois sensationally dumped Dublin out of the All-Ireland hurling series, the eight-time All- Ireland winner said he has been trying to instill in the Laois team the same standards and expectations that were instilled into him under the stewardship of Brian Cody.
“Composure is something we have pushed with them and they have applied themselves so well.
“This is a game about using your head and brain and it’s something when I was playing it was constantly drilled into us.
“It’s great to see them take on the hurling they are well capable of. There was never a question about their ability to hurl, it’s just to get them to believe in something, to believe in themselves.
“Everyone of those players had each other backs all year long, and you can’t ask for more than that as a manager.”
After this renaissance in Laois hurling, added to Kilkenny’s somewhat flat season, there has been a small clamour online and in some parts of the national press, to see one of Cody’s old stars take on the role as the manager of the Kilkenny hurling team, with many saying it’s the right time for a change.
While that might be going too far, along side Eddie Brennan’s breakthrough at Laois, King Henry has led Ballyhale Shamrock’s to an All-Ireland club title, while DJ Carey is the manager of the Kilkenny under-20’s and the Carlow IT hurlers, where he has brought about remarkable success.