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exclusive I love Brian Cody's no-nonsense, bullshit free approach - some other managers should follow his lead

Veteran manager avoids silly jargon and caution-first tactics of peers

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 Kilkenny manager Brian Cody speaks to his players at the water break during the Leinster final

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody speaks to his players at the water break during the Leinster final

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody speaks to his players at the water break during the Leinster final

The dank November weather matches the mood of GAA fans down here in the Kingdom. But being an optimist, I'm always looking on the bright side.

So I'm personally heartened by the number of people who read my preview of the Kerry v Cork game - particularly high-profile commentators like Joe Brolly and Marc Ó Sé.

Though every pundit tipped Kerry it was my prediction they highlighted. I want to thank them for generating so much publicity for me.

As Oscar Wilde once said: 'There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about'.

I'm sure they will be generous enough to let their Twitter followers know that my five predictions for last weekend's matches were spot on.

Having watched damn near every second of everything from the Masters to F1, including all the GAA action, my top sportsman of last weekend was Kilkenny hurling boss Brian Cody.

I love his no-nonsense, bullshit-free approach. He never quotes obscure American football coaches, drops in a bit of basketball jargon, or hosts a personal webinar on coaching.

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Cats boss Brian Cody has a no-nonsense approach. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Cats boss Brian Cody has a no-nonsense approach. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Cats boss Brian Cody has a no-nonsense approach. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

He keeps it simple: It's all about hunger, work rate, ferocity and attitude - and that's why his team are still successful.

Think about what happened in the Leinster final. Five points down in the final quarter, he moves his two ace forwards TJ Reid and Richie Hogan into the scoring zone, creates space for them to exploit, and lets the ball in first time.

We all know what happened. I'd call it a common-sense approach to sports coaching.

Compare his philosophy to that of two other managers, Kerry's Peter Keane and Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny, whose luck is out right now.

The root cause of their teams' struggles is that they are both attempting to implement a game plan which is not suited to their players' skill-sets or strengths.

There are two emerging trends in this year's football championship. There is no getting away from the reality: We're watching winter football, even if the stakes are high. The quality is poor with a lot of basic errors being made.

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Secondly, players are slavishly following the tactics devised by managers whose mantra is caution, caution, and more caution.

We're back to the worst excesses of blanket defending, slow build-up, and an obsession with minding possession. It's the classic safety-first, painting-by-numbers approach to coaching.

What's also striking is that the top teams have the same template when it comes to team selection.

They are choosing players who are physically powerful, have pace and big engines. The three newcomers on the Dublin team - Tom Lahiff, Robbie McDaid and Seán Bugler - all fulfil these criteria.

Likewise in Mayo, where James Horan decided that recruiting this type of player was essential if the team was to finally win an All-Ireland.

Interestingly, when he returned for a second term this time two years ago, Horan held trials all over the county - and the stars of the previous decade were told to turn up, or else.

From that trawl, ten newcomers have been introduced this season with Eoghan McLaughlin, Oisín Mullin, Tommy Conroy, Mark Moran and Bryan Walsh all looking the part.

His approach contrasts sharply with the policy in Kerry, which is far too reliant on players who have been though the developmental-squad route.

There is no guarantee that a talented 15-, 16- or 17-year-old is going to make the grade at senior inter-county level. Furthermore, this approach doesn't consider late developers.

So in Kerry we have ended up now with a senior team full of pacey but diminutive players - combined with physically big guys who are short on pace.

Kerry might have won five of the last six All-Ireland minor titles, but a far more relevant statistic is that we haven't won an under 20/under 21 title since 2008.

Dublin, by contrast, have won four U-21 crowns - 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2017 - since Kerry's last win in the grade.

And so many current Dublin players have come from those winning teams. To take the winning teams in order, James McCarthy, Ciarán Kilkenny, Brian Fenton and Con O'Callaghan are just four of the footballers the Dubs got from those U-21 teams. There are many more!

Clearly, the Kingdom needs a rethink at under-age level and a new approach.

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Kildare manager Jack O'Connor. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Kildare manager Jack O'Connor. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Kildare manager Jack O'Connor. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

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