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TJ Reid Had To Double-Check Brian Cody WhatsApp To Make Sure It Was Real

Kilkenny’s T.J. Reid is pictured in Croke Park to celebrate that Littlewoods Ireland has rebranded to Very. As part of this rebrand customers can now shop over 1800 brands on Very.ie. To find out more about Very, visit Very.ie and follow the conversation on social with #HelloVery, on Instagram (@very.ireland) and Twitter (@very_ireland). Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

By PJ Browne Updated

TJ Reid had to scan the WhatsApp message from Brian Cody confirming that he was stepping down as Kilkenny manager more than once to make sure it was real.

"Whatsapp is big these days, so he sent a personal message to all the players before the announcement was made," said Reid, speaking at the announcement Littlewoods Ireland has rebranded to Very.

"The Whatsapp group can be a daunting place every year because you get lads messaging in to retire. We went through a good few retirements in the last couple of years.

"Look, it's emotional stuff. These guys give everything to the jersey and you become great friends with these people. And Brian is the leader of us all and you'd have to look at it twice to believe it and make sure that it was from Brian.

"It was a sad day for us all and we all acknowledged his workrate for Kilkenny and the county board. It was an emotional day."

Six days after Kilkenny's defeat to Limerick in the All-Ireland final came the news which had been rumoured but was still a surprise. Cody had been Kilkenny manager for 24 years. Talk that he might step down had come and gone for the last decade-and-a-half.

Reid said that the players had no strong inkling that Cody was going to call it a day. They'd just heard the same whispers as everyone else.

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27 September 2014; Kilkenny manager Brian Cody celebrates with TJ Reid at the end of the game. GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship Final Replay, Kilkenny v Tipperary. Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

"After the All-Ireland, there was probably a bit of news alright around town that Brian might be stepping down," said Reid.

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"It was surprising because that would never happen straight after an All-Ireland final. I was surprised to hear that. So when I heard that, and having been around the block a long time, I was thinking 'maybe'.

"It's Brian's own personal choice. He's served us very well. You'd have to ask Brian why did he leave.

"A manager's job is tough. It's not three days a week. It's probably seven days a week doing analysis, speaking to the backroom team, physios, strength and conditioning coach.

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"He must have watched every game over the last 25 years because you never see Brian Cody having a coffee in town. He's very much a low-key guy. He doesn't like the limelight. He'll be missed on the sideline. That Avonmore peak cap will be treasured forever.

"He motivated me to be a better player. The one thing he'd always say is to never allow yourself to be just good. There's always a game to be better and better. He's never happy with just a good game and would always look for improvements. He's built that in myself and the winning your own ball mentality. He's built that through great players for Kilkenny.

"He's done extraordinary things with Kilkenny. He did extraordinary things this year with Kilkenny because we were written off badly this year. He formed a team this year to allow us compete, and allow us get back to an All-Ireland final, and he did that.

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"I think he's done an excellent job for the next manager coming. Maybe he thought, 'Right, there's a future here now, maybe it's time for the next manager to come in, and drive things on'.

"He's built a competitive team for next year. He blooded young lads like Mickey Butler and Cian Kenny this year. It's a very young team with an average age of 24 or 25. Take me out of it, and it drops down to 20!

"He's left Kilkenny hurling in a great place. The mentality that's there, the attitude around the dressing room, he's built standards that have to be kept."

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Several names, including Henry Shefflin, Derek Lyng, Michael Fennelly, Eddie Brennan, DJ Carey, and Martin Fogarty, have all been linked with succeeding Cody.

"Look, there's loads of names out there and if we can take them all, then great," said Reid.

"That's the county board's job to pick the right man for the job. It's all about the players at the end of the day and they contribute massively to the cause. The manager's job is to motivate and support us with whatever we need to do.

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"You have 40 players arriving for training, all eager to train and all want to win, so the next manager coming in has 40 ambitious lads that want to succeed and win. Next year is going to be exciting and it's a good team there. In one way, we're mourning the loss of Brian Cody but I think next year is going to be exciting for Kilkenny and I'm looking forward to it."

See Also: 6 Compelling Candidates To Succeed Brian Cody As Kilkenny Manager

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