Michael Fennelly Reveals One Trait Brian Cody Shares With Alex Ferguson

Michael Fennelly Reveals One Trait Brian Cody Shares With Alex Ferguson

When he looks back on his inter-county hurling career with Kilkenny, eight All-Ireland winners medals will be the outstanding element of Michael Fennelly's sporting career.

The 32-year old, who was also named 2011 Hurler of the Year and claimed three All-Stars in his 12-year spell with the Cats, announced his retirement late last year realising that his "body has surpassed its limits at this time."

As one of the incredible GAA careers has come to a close, Fennelly was speaking to Off The Ball tonight about his memories of working with Kilkenny, and Brian Cody particularly.

Naturally, Fennelly speaks highly of a man who has brought incredible success to Kilkenny, but, one characteristic above all stood out for the Ballyhale Shamrocks man:

He always knew what you were thinking. As a team he would have known what you were thinking in terms of complacency that could have crept in.

Then he could bring in the players and say 'the atmosphere is not great, there's not a good feeling here etc.' He was great at communicating and bringing a team together, putting responsibility on everyone.

Sometimes I might hear my name being shouted [in Croke Park], and I would look across and he'd just give me an expression, and you'd know, 'it's time to go here now.'

This description of Cody seems oddly similar to a description of Alex Ferguson that Roy Keane provided for the Scot in a number of years ago.


Although Keane suggests that Brian Clough was the best manager he worked with, Keane commended Ferguson for his ability to read his players:

I thought I knew what the group might need, that we didn’t need a big team talk. It was Tottenham at home. I thought please don’t go on about Tottenham, we all know what Tottenham is about, they are nice and tidy but we’ll fucking do them. He came in and said: ‘Lads, it’s Tottenham’, and that was it. Brilliant.

It could have been a European semi-final, it could have been Leeds away, it could have been a home League Cup tie – Alex Ferguson always had a feel of the group.

While the two dynastic managers probably share as much in common as they differ, Fennelly's remarks open up another avenue of where Ferguson and Cody are very alike.

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