Brian Cody, the greatest manager in the history of gaelic games, has today called time on his memorable reign as manager of the Kilkenny senior hurling team after 24 incredible years.
Speculation began to mount Monday evening about whether Cody would continue in the role in the aftermath of Sunday's All-Ireland final defeat to Limerick.
Cody was appointed to the job in 1998. Under his time in charge, the Cats won 11 All-Irelands and competed in 17 All-Ireland finals. Brian Cody won the national league 10 times and Leinster title 18 times. He also won three All-Irelands as a player.
His retirement from coaching was confirmed in a statement this afternoon that read:
Brian Cody, the greatest GAA manager of all time
Brian Cody's Kilkenny side famously had a stranglehold on the game of hurling between 2006 - 2015, when they won eight of 10 All-Irelands.
Cody coached some of the greatest and most skilful players to play the game - DJ Carey, Henry Shefflin, TJ Reid - but his teams were all imbued with a mettle and steel that for many years seemed literally unconquerable. Their rare defeats - the 2009 All-Ireland final, the 2012 Leinster final - felt like freak events and were celebrated thusly by neutrals, before the natural pecking order was soon restored again.
The same uncanny Kilkenny mixture of outrageous skill and grit was on display at Croke Park on Sunday when a young, unheralded Kilkenny side pushed Limerick to the brink and more than contributed to the majestic spectacle that was the 2022 All-Ireland hurling final.
"I have never been prouder of a team than I was leaving Croke Park on Sunday," Cody said at the Kilkenny homecoming at Nowlan Park on Monday.
"They fought to the bitter end. They refused to break and refused to lie down."
Brian Cody turned 68 last week, and the rousing performance at the weekend had given some hope that - after a somewhat embattled season - he would carry on and make it a quarter century in charge. All good things do come to an end. An era of excellence the likes of which Irish sport will never see again is now ended.