|Irish name||Brian Mac Óda|
12 July 1954 |
Sheestown, County Kilkenny, Ireland
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Occupation||Primary school principal|
Brian Cody (born on 12 July 1954) is an Irish hurling manager and former player who played for and subsequently became manager of the Kilkenny senior team, where he has been in charge since 1998. Cody is regarded as one of the greatest managers of the modern game.
Cody joined the team as a player during the 1973 championship and was a regular member of the starting fifteen until his retirement after the 1986 championship. During that time he won three All-Ireland medals, four Leinster medals and two National Hurling League medals. Cody captained the team to the All-Ireland title in 1982.
In retirement from playing Cody became involved in team management and coaching in all grades at club level with James Stephens before making the leap to inter-county management in November 1998 when he was appointed manager of the Kilkenny senior team. Since then he has guided the team to unprecedented success, winning nine All-Ireland titles, twelve Leinster titles and six National League titles.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Playing career
- 3 Managing Kilkenny
- 3.1 1999: First season
- 3.2 2000: First All-Ireland
- 3.3 2001: A shock defeat
- 3.4 2002: League and All-Ireland success
- 3.5 2003: League and All-Ireland double
- 3.6 2004: Trophyless season
- 3.7 2005: Another mixed season
- 3.8 2006: Cody's greatest success
- 3.9 2007: A fifth All-Ireland title
- 3.10 2008: Three-in-a-row
- 3.11 2009: Four-in-a row
- 3.12 2010: The 'Drive for Five'
- 3.13 2011: The Empire Strikes Back
- 3.14 2012: Back Door
- 3.15 2013
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Honours
- 6 Sources
- 7 References
Brian Cody was born in Sheestown, four miles outside Kilkenny city in 1954. The son of Thomastown natives Bill Cody and the former Annie Hoyne, he was born into a family that was heavily involved in the Gaelic Athletic Association. Hurling in particular was hugely important for Cody's father. He was a selector with both the Kilkenny minor and senior teams before later serving as chairman of the James Stephens club for seventeen years. His tenure coincided with the club’s most successful period ever. In her youth Cody’s mother played camogie with her local team.
Cody was educated at his local national school where his interest in the game of hurling was first developed. He later boarded at St. Kieran's College in Kilkenny, a virtual nursery for young, talented players. It was at St. Kieran's where Cody first tasted major hurling success. He was a key member of the college team in 1971 when St. Kieran's captured the Leinster colleges’ title. Cody later helped his school to the All-Ireland title following a win over St. Finbarr's College from Cork. He won a second consecutive Leinster colleges’ medal in 1972, however, St. Finbarr's gained their revenge and were victorious on this occasion. It was from these successes with St. Kieran’s that Cody’s inter-county career with Kilkenny evolved.
Cody later attended St. Patrick's College in Dublin where he studied to be a primary school teacher. Here he played on the college hurling team where one of his contemporaries was Ger Loughnane, a future hurling star and inter-county manager of Clare. Cody currently works at St. Patrick's De La Salle national school in Kilkenny, where he has been principal since 2009.
Cody played his club hurling with James Stephens and enjoyed much success during a golden age for the club.
After enjoying much success in the juvenile and underage grades, Cody subsequently became a key member of the club's senior team. After losing the championship decider in 1973, James Stephens were back in the final again two years later. A comprehensive 1-14 to 1-5 defeat of first-time finalists Galmoy gave Cody his first championship medal. He later added a Leinster medal to his collection following a 1-14 to 2-4 defeat of Offaly champions St. Rynagh’s before lining out in the All-Ireland decider against Blackrock. Five points down at half-time, James Stephens came storming back to record a 2-10 to 2-4 victory. It was Cody's first All-Ireland medal and the first time that a Kilkenny club had captured the All-Ireland title.
James Stephens retained their championship title the following year with Cody collecting a second winners' medal following a 2-14 to 0-13 defeat of Rower-Inistioge.
After a period of decline James Stephens reached another county final in 1981. A 2-10 to 0-8 defeat of Fenians gave Cody a third championship medal. A narrow 0-13 to 1-9 victory over Faythe Harriers in the provincial decider secured a second Leinster medal for Cody. The subsequent All-Ireland final saw James Stephens take on Mount Sion from Waterford. At half-time the Kilkenny side were behind by seven points, however, the team fought back with three second-half goals by John McCormack to record a great 3-13 to 3-8 victory. It was Cody’s second All-Ireland medal.
Minor and under-21
Cody first came to prominence on the inter-county scene in the early 1970s as a member of the Kilkenny minor hurling team. He won his first Leinster title in this grade in 1971 when Kilkenny recorded an enormous 7-18 to 3-5 victory over Wexford. The subsequent All-Ireland championship decider saw Kilkenny take on Cork. An exciting and close game ensued, however, the full-time whistle Cork were victorious by 2-11 to 1-11. In 1972 Cody was in his final year in the minor grade when he was appointed captain of the team. That year Kilkenny recorded another comprehensive win in the Leinster final. The 7-10 to 0-4 victory over Wexford gave Cody a second provincial minor medal. The subsequent All-Ireland final was a repeat of the previous year as Kilkenny lined out against Cork. Cody’s team ran riot over the course of the sixty minutes and recorded another huge victory. The 8-7 to 3-9 score line gave Cody a coveted All-Ireland minor medal and the honour of collecting the cup.
Cody subsequently joined the Kilkenny under-21 where he enjoyed further successes. After defeat in 1973 he won a Leinster under-21 medal in 1974 after a 3-8 to 1-4 victory over their great rivals and near-neighbours Wexford. The subsequent All-Ireland final was a novel affair as Waterford, the surprise winners of the Munster title, provided the opposition. Kilkenny were the favourites going into the game, however, the final was a much closer affair than commentators had previously thought. A narrow 3-8 to 3-7 victory gave Kilkenny the win and gave Cody his first All-Ireland medal. In 1975 Cody was in his last year with the under-21 team as Kilkenny continued their provincial dominance. Another huge 3-14 to 0-8 win over Wexford gave Cody a second consecutive Leinster under-21 title. Cork provided the opposition in the subsequent All-Ireland final and another interesting encounter developed. A finals core of 5-13 to 2-19 gave Kilkenny the victory and gave Cody his second consecutive All-Ireland under-21 medal.
While still a member of the Kilkenny under-21 team Cody joined the county senior panel. A series of injuries and misfortune leading up to Kilkenny’s All-Ireland final showdown with Limerick led to Cody, a virtual unknown quantity at senior level, being drafted onto the starting fifteen. He lined out in the left half-back position that day, however, it was a bad afternoon at Croke Park for Kilkenny. A goal by Mossie Dowling and an attack spearheaded by Richie Bennis led to Limerick winning the game by 1-21 to 1-14.
The All-Ireland final defeat led to a reshuffle of the Kilkenny team and Cody found it hard to retain his place on the starting fifteen the following year. He was still a member of the panel as Kilkenny went on to claim Leinster and All-Ireland titles that year.
Cody was back on the starting fifteen in 1975 as the great Kilkenny team of the era was beginning to disband. Kilkenny took on Wexford in the Leinster final that year in the first seventy minute provincial decider. The game was an exciting one with Kilkenny winning relatively easily by 2-20 to 2-14. It was Cody’s first senior Leinster title on the field of play. He later lined out in his second All-Ireland final appearance with Galway providing the opposition on this occasion. The men from the West got off to a good start and led at half-time. Things got better for Galway when P.J. Qualter scored a quick goal at the start of the second-half. Kilkenny fought back with Eddie Keher scoring 2-7 and Liam O'Brien chipping in with five points to give ‘the Cats’ a twelve point victory. It was Cody’s first senior All-Ireland medal on the field of play. He was one of the team’s star players throughout the championship and was subsequently presented with his first All-Star award.
1976 began well for Cody when he played a key role in Kilkenny’s National Hurling League victory. His side later went into decline and surrendered their provincial crown to Wexford in 1976 and 1977.
In 1978 Cody lined out in his fourth consecutive Leinster final against Wexford, the reigning champions. The game developed into a close affair; however, victory went to ‘the Cats’ by 2-16 to 1-16. It was Cody’s second Leinster title. Following a subsequent victory over Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final Kilkenny faced arch-rivals Cork in the All-Ireland championship decider. Much was at stake as Cork were aiming to capture a third All-Ireland victory in-a-row and nothing would give Kilkenny greater pleasure than stopping them. Both sides remained neck and neck for much of the game, however, Cody was having a tough time in the unusual position of full-forward. Cork’s Jimmy Barry-Murphy scored the winning goal for Cork with thirteen minutes left in the game. For the second time Cody ended up on the losing side on All-Ireland final day.
The All-Ireland defeat saw a reshuffle of the team take place with Cody losing out once again. Kilkenny went on to win both Leinster and All-Ireland titles in 1979; however, Cody had to settle for collecting his winners’ medals as a non-playing substitute in both games. He was back on the starting fifteen in 1980; however, Offaly emerged as a new force in Leinster in both 1980 and 1981.
In 1982 Cody had the great honour of being appointed captain of the Kilkenny senior team. That year he collected a second National League title before leading his team out in Croke Park for the Leinster final. Offaly, the reigning provincial and All-Ireland champions were the opponents on that occasion and an interesting game developed. After a close seventy minutes of hurling Kilkenny emerged victorious by just two points. Cody later had the honour of collecting the famed Bob O’Keeffe Cup before he was presented with his third Leinster winners’ medal. He subsequently led his men out in Croke Park in the All-Ireland championship decider against Cork. Christy Heffernan was the hero of the day as he scored two goals in a forty second spell just before half-time. Ger Fennelly captured a third goal in the second-half as Kilkenny completely trounced ‘the Rebels’ by 3-18 to 1-15. This victory gave Cody his second All-Ireland medal while also allowing him to collect the Liam McCarthy Cup on behalf of his team. In doing so he joined a select group of players who captained their county to both minor and senior All-Ireland victories. Cody was later presented with a second All-Star award.
In 1983 Cody missed Kilkenny’s second consecutive National League victory, however, he returned in time for the Leinster final against Offaly. It was their second consecutive meeting in the provincial decider, however, on this occasion the victory was more comprehensive on this occasion. A 1-17 to 0-13 win gave Cody his fourth and final Leinster medal. For the second year in-a-row ‘the Cats’ squared up to Cork in the All-Ireland final. Once again Kilkenny dominated the game, assisted by a strong wind in the first-half, and hung on in the face of a great fight-back by Cork. At the full-time whistle Kilkenny emerged victorious by 2-14 to 2-12. It was Cody’s third and final All-Ireland medal.
Kilkenny’s fortunes took a downturn following this victory as Offaly won the next two Leinster titles. He played his last game for his county in 1986 in the Leinster championship against Westmeath.
1999: First season
Cody was appointed manager of the Kilkenny senior hurling team on 16 November 1998. He was the only candidate nominated for the position and was initially appointed for a two-year term. In the lead-up to the start of the championship Cody was very contemplative about his team's chances. He believed that 1999 was going to be one of the most open championships in years with any team capable of winning either the Munster or Leinster provincial deciders. In his first full season in charge Cody brought some new players onto the team. James McGarry, at the age of 27, made his senior debut as goalkeeper while a young Henry Shefflin was unearthed and was a new addition in the forward line. With a blend of youth and experience Cody guided his team to a second consecutive Leinster title. The 5-14 to 1-16 defeat of reigning All-Ireland champions Offaly was flattering to say the least.[according to whom?] A four-point victory over Clare in the All-Ireland semi-final set up a championship decider against Cork. Kilkenny, as the defeated finalists of the previous year, were installed as the red-hot favourites over a Cork team with an average age of 21. In one of the least memorable All-Ireland finals of the decade[according to whom?], ‘the Rebels’ saw off the challenge of Cody’s team by just a single point. After five years of something of a revolution in the hurling world, the old order had been restored.
2000: First All-Ireland
In 2000 Cody’s side captured a third successive Leinster title, his second as manager, following another flattering victory over Offaly. It would not be the last time that these two sides would meet in the 2000 championship. Another resounding victory, this time over Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final, allowed Cody’s side advance to the All-Ireland final once again. It was the team’s third consecutive apperanace in the championship decider and the possibility of losing a third final in-a-row was a huge motivating factor for Kilkenny. Offaly, the defeated Leinster finalists, provided the opposition, however, in one of the most one-sided finals in decades Kilkenny won on a score line of 5-15 to 1-14. Cody had finally captured his first All-Ireland title as a manager.
2001: A shock defeat
Kilkenny were the favourites to retain the All-Ireland title in 2001. Things got off to a good start as Cody’s side retained their Leinster crown following a trouncing of Wexford in the provincial final. Things looked as if they were going to plan, however, Kilkenny played Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final with one eye on the All-Ireland final. Galway capitalised on this over-confidence and dumped the reigning champions out of the championship on a score line of 2-15 to 1-13.
2002: League and All-Ireland success
Following Kilkenny’s shock defeat by Galway in 2001 ‘the Cats’ had a point to prove in 2002. With this in mind Cody turned to the National Hurling League. Kilkenny hadn’t won the competition since 1995, however, Cody’s side set out at the start of the year to win every game possible. Arch-rivals Cork provided the opposition in the National League final, however, it was Kilkenny who emerged victorious by a single point. On the back of this success Kilkenny subsequently captured a fifth successive Leinster title, this time with a smaller margin of victory over near rivals Wexford. Tipperary fell in the All-Ireland semi-final and Kilkenny went on to face Clare in the championship decider. It was an historic occasion as Clare, who were defeate din the first-round of the Munster championship, became the first team to reach the final via the newly introduced qualifier system. Goals by D.J. Carey and Henry Shefflin sealed the victory for Kilkenny as Clare were defeated by 2-20 to 0-19. It was Cody’s second All-Ireland as a manager.
2003: League and All-Ireland double
Cody’s Kilkenny continued their dominance in all competitions in 2003. A thrilling National League final saw ‘the Cats’ defeat Tipperary by 5-15 to 5-14 at Croke Park. Once again this league victory launched as a spring board for Kilkenny’s assault on the All-Ireland championship, however, all was not well in the Kilkenny camp. At the start of the championship Cody had a much publicised disagreement with team captain Charlie Carter. Carter was later dropped from the starting fifteen and was replaced as captain by D.J. Carey. In spite of internal troubles another facile eleven point victory over Wexford gave Cody’s team a fifth successive title under his management. Kilkenny later trounced Tipperary, the defeated league finalists, in a one-sided All-Ireland semi-final. An up-and-coming Cork team provided the opposition in Cody’s fourth All-Ireland final as manager. The result hung in the balance until the last five minutes when Martin Comerford scored the winning goal. A 1-14 to 1-11 score line gave Cody his third All-Ireland title as manager.
2004: Trophyless season
In 2004 Cody had one of his lowest seasons as manager. Kilkenny surrendered their league title as the possibility of capturing a third All-Ireland title in-a-row. Cody’s team later stumbled through the Leinster championship. They failed to retain their provincial crown for a seventh successive season as Wexford defeated Kilkenny by a single point in a thrilling semi-final. This was Cody’s first, and since then his only defeat in the Leinster championship since he took over as manager. Kilkenny’s three-in-a-row hopes were not dashed completely as the qualifier route was open to them. They narrowly defeated Clare after a replay before having another close shave in the All-Ireland semi-final with Waterford. For the second year in-a-row Kilkenny faced Cork in the All-Ireland final. At half-time the sides were evenly matched, however, the final 23 minutes saw Cork score nine points without reply from Kilkenny. The 0-17 to 0-9 score line ended Cody’s hopes of a third successive All-Ireland and meant that he ended the season without any silverware.
2005: Another mixed season
Cody’s Kilkenny fought back in 2005 by capturing a third National League title in four years. The side also regained their provincial crown after a narrow win over Wexford setting up an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Galway. Once again Cody’s team seemed to have one eye on the All-Ireland final as all the pundits had predicted a third consecutive meeting of Cork and Kilkenny in the championship decider. Cody’s side got off to a great start in the game against Galway, however, a young Galway team fought back and exposed a poor defence. The final score of 5-18 to 4-18 in favour of Galway saw Kilkenny leave the championship following one of the games of the decade. This game also brought the curtain down on the careers of Peter Barry and D.J. Carey, two of the stalwarts of Cody’s team over the years.
2006: Cody's greatest success
In 2006 Brian Cody introduced some fresh blood and described his team as ‘being in transition’. Criticism of his team selection and tactics hurt him personally and he answered his critics with success on the hurling field. Kilkenny stormed to a fourth National League title before capturing another Leinster title following a victory over Wexford. Cody’s side later trounced Galway and Clare in the All-Ireland series of games before lining out against Cork in the championship decider. ‘The Rebels’ were aiming for a third successive All-Ireland title. Stopping Cork, although denied by Cody, proved to be a huge motivating factor. Kilkenny suffocated Cork’s style of play in the game and sealed the victory by three points. After the game a delighted Cody danced on the sideline and described the win as his greatest victory.
2007: A fifth All-Ireland title
In 2007 Cody’s side were back on top of the hurling world and were installed as early favourites to retain the All-Ireland title. Kilkenny’s National League campaign got off to a shaky start, but they still reached the final. Waterford were the opponents on that occasion and went on to capture their first national title since 1963. Even at this early stage pundits predicted that these two sides were likely to meet again in the All-Ireland final. A 2-24 to 1-12 victory over Wexford saw Cody’s side capture a ninth Leinster title in ten seasons. Victories over Galway and Wexford again saw Kilkenny cruise to yet another All-Ireland final appearanace. Surprisingly, Limerick, a team written off at the start of the year, provided the opposition in the game. Cody’s side got off to the best possible start and led by 2-3 to no score after ten minutes. It was a lead that the team would never surrender and Cody captured his fifth All-Ireland title as a manager.
In 2008 Kilkenny were offered their second opportunity of the decade to capture a third All-Ireland title in-a-row. 1913 was the last time that Kilkenny won three consecutive championships, however, the merit of this treble has been questioned because Kilkenny were awarded the 1911 championship title after Limerick refused the play the final. To win in 2008 would show that Kilkenny were capable of doing three in-a-row after several near misses. Furthermore, an All-Ireland final win would allow Kilkenny to top the All-Ireland roll of honour with thirty-one titles.
The county's first outing in the Leinster championship saw Offaly providing the opposition. While Kilkenny came under some pressure in the first-half they powered on to win by 2-24 to 0-12. The subsequent Leinster final saw Kilkenny take on Wexford once again. In a repeat of the semi-final Kilkenny were put under pressure in the first-half and only led by two points at the interval. The second-half saw a complete transformation as Cody's side piled on the pressure and won by 5-21 to 0-17. It was Cody's ninth Leinster title as manager. Due to a restructuring of the championship format this victory allowed Kilkenny to advance directly to the All-Ireland semi-final. That game saw Cody's side take on fierce rivals Cork. It was the first time that the two sides had met in the championship outside an All-Ireland final. Once again Klkenny showed their class and went on to win by 1-23 to 0-17. The subsequent All-Ireland final saw Kilkenny take on Waterford. It was their first meeting in the championship decider since 1963. A classic game of hurling was expected by many, but Kilkenny started stronger and two goals by Eddie Brennan in the first 20 minutes effectively killed the game. The Cats ploughed on to record an enormous 3-30 to 1-13 victory over their near neighbours. It was one of the most one-sided finals in decades. The victory gave Kilkenny their third All-Ireland title in a row and set them apart as possibly the greatest Kilkenny team of all-time. After the game Cody was surprisingly chosen as the RTÉ Man of the Match.
2009: Four-in-a row
Cody was unsurprisingly reappointed manager of the Kilkenny senior hurling team for an eleventh season at the end of 2008. On 6 September they matched Cork's seemingly unbeatable record by winning their four consecutive All-Ireland titles by beating Tipperary 2-22 to 0-23.
2010: The 'Drive for Five'
Cody managed Kilkenny for his 12th season, guiding them to their tenth Leinster Final. Facing Galway for the first time in a provincial final, Kilkenny ran out winners 1-19 to 1-12. They were drawn to play old rivals Cork in the All-Ireland Semi-final which they won easily (3-22 to 0-19) to reach their tenth All-Ireland Final under Cody. Providing the opposition were the previous year's opponents Tipperary and many expected Kilkenny to run out winners. However, Kilkenny were ravaged by injuries to key players and Tipperary gained revenge for their defeat the year before by winning 4-17 to 1-18.
2011: The Empire Strikes Back
Written off by many after a poor display in the National League Final loss to Dublin, Kilkenny retained their Leinster Title and again faced Tipperary in the "rubber match" of their trilogy. This time with a fully fit squad available Kilkenny emerged convincing winners over their arch-rivals with a dominant 2-17 to 1-16 victory - the 8th All-Ireland title of Cody's reign as manager.
2012: Back Door
Ahead of the 2012 Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Final played on 8 July 2012 at Croke Park, Kilkenny were expected to annilihate Galway. Instead Galway secured a historic first ever Leinster title, after unexpectedly defeating the 2011 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Champions. In doing so they held Kilkenny scoreless for the first twenty minutes, led at half-time by 2-12 to 0-4, and achieved a full-time score of 2-21 to 2-11. Cody said afterwards that his team were “wiped out” by Galway. Kilkenny hammered Limerick and secured an 18 point victory in the All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary to secure a September rematch with Galway which Kilkenny won by 3-22 to 3-11 in a replay.
Kilkenny went on to retain the National Hurling League by defeating Tipperary in the final on 5 May by 2-17 to 0-20 at Nowlan Park. In the Leinster Championship, Kilkenny defeated Offaly by 0-26 to 4-9 to advance to a semi-final meeting with Dublin. The first game finished level with Dublin winning the replay a week later by 1-16 to 0-16. Kilkenny went into the qualifiers and a week later met Tipperary again at Nowlan park with Kilkenny winning by 0-20 to 1-14. In the next round of the qualifiers, Kilkenny faced Waterford at Semple Stadium on 13 July, with Kilkenny winning by 1-22 to 2-16 after extra time. Kilkenny then faced Cork again at Semple Stadium in the quarter-finals on 28 July. Henry Shefflin was sent-off in the first half for two bookable offences as Kilkenny bowed out of the championship, losing by 0-14 to 0-19. On 11 September, it was confirmed that Cody would continue as Kilkenny Manager for a 16th season but without selector Martin Fogarty who has stood down.
Cody has been married to Elsie Walsh, a native of Wexford, since the 1980s. She was a camogie star in her own right and enjoyed much success with the famous Buffer's Alley club and at inter-county level with Wexford. Together they have two sons: Donnacha (born 1985) and Diarmuid (born 1994). Donnacha has followed in his father's footsteps as a player with James Stephens and as a member of the Kilkenny senior hurlers between 2006 and 2008. Diarmuid featured on the county's minor side in 2011.
Cody's auto-biography Cody, co-written with GAA journalist Martin Breheny, was published on September 28, 2009.
- James Stephens
- All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship (2): 1976, 1982
- Leinster Senior Club Hurling Championship (2): 1975, 1981
- Kilkenny Senior Hurling Championship (3): 1975, 1976, 1981
- All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship: 1975, 1982, 1983
- Leinster Senior Hurling Championship (4): 1975, 1978, 1982, 1983
- National Hurling League (2): 1976, 1982
- All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling Championship (2): 1974, 1975
- Leinster Under-21 Hurling Championship (2): 1974, 1975
- All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship (1): 1972
- Leinster Minor Hurling Championship (2): 1971, 1972
- All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship (9): 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012
- Leinster Senior Hurling Championship (12): 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
- National Hurling League (6): 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2012
- Walsh Cup (4): 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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