independent

Thursday 15 November 2018

Codd is cautious

Pettitt's SHC Final: Oct 21, 3.15pm, Innovate Wexford Park, St Martin's v Naomh Éanna

St. Martin’s mentors Barry Keane, John O’Connor, Ian Mernagh, Tomás Codd and Charlie Carter
St. Martin’s mentors Barry Keane, John O’Connor, Ian Mernagh, Tomás Codd and Charlie Carter

Dean Goodison

'Everyone thinks the Martin's are getting on great, (but) the four years I've been involved we've only won one championship, we've lost, well, six so far.'

Those are the facts as stated by boss Tomás Codd ahead of Sunday's Pettitt's Senior hurling championship final and it's food for thought.

It's easy to look at the roll of honour over the last few years and be in awe of the St. Martin's record, as right down through the ages top tier trophies have been won, and often won well.

But at the end of the day, while they are potentially building towards something special, plaudits and expectations have never won anyone anything at Senior level.

Talent is vital but hard work is just as important and it started back in pre-season training.

'To a certain extent they (other teams) are probably using us as a gauge to where they are themselves,' Codd said.

'So yeah, we had plenty of tough games and we trained probably harder than ever really.'

Uniformly across the club scene, the fixtures or lack thereof in summer is the number one source of frustration. Codd, his management team and players are no different, as they were left twiddling their thumbs after their first round win against St. Anne's.

'Between football, hurling and Under-21 we were committing an awful lot of players to county teams so we were training with four or five players in the field most nights in the summer, which is very frustrating for guys who are there.

'Plus we had a huge complement that were doing the Leaving Cert., so we had to let them off to do their studies. Training was difficult, we played a few games, (but) we got thrown out of the hurling and football league,' he explained.

'We requested that they would give a week's grace, at one stage, until the Leaving Cert. was over, which would have given us another six or seven players back into the squad.

'They didn't agree to that, and we got thrown out of the league, which was disappointing for us because we use it to give younger guys a bit of experience.'

Coming back in late July, St. Martin's moved through the group stages without ever hitting top gear. Codd was able to use his squad, with others coming back into the line-up as the season went on. Things started to build when they faced Ferns in the last eight.

'We got in to Ferns and had a man sent-off after a few minutes. Jake Firman was put off and that put us on the back foot but I thought we played very well in the second-half with 14 men in that match.

'The scoreline at half-time flattered us,' said the boss of their clash with Rapparees in the semi.

'We got a couple of goals against the run of play, so I think we ended up going in five points up having played against the wind.

'They got a couple of scores at the start of the second-half, (but) our lads pushed on and won quite comfortably in the end. We got five goals and any day you get five goals you are going to be hard to beat.'

Speaking of hard to beat, Codd and his team are under no illusions about the test that awaits in the final.

'Gorey are probably in the exact same position as us,' he explained, 'we've been playing them in county finals for ten years.

'They have been going either way, we've been winning some, they have been winning some. I know most of their players since they were Under-8s or Under-10s, I was involved with our lads at that time as well. I would know them all very, very well.

'There are some great players on their team, the Molloys, Charlie McGuckin, Conor McDonald is obviously their marquee player, Eoin Conroy and the Doyles, the Travers' as well. They are a great team, they are definitely going to be around for a long time competing, I've no doubt.'

Talking of great players, St. Martin's big injury concern has been Rory O'Connor, and on his star man Codd said: 'Rory got injured, is still injured but came on for 20 minutes last Sunday. He still needs a bit of surgery but is prepared to take the chance on it even though he could damage it a bit further.

'I suppose county finals don't come around very often, Senior county final particularly, not in our club anyway, hopefully that will change going forward. So, the chance to win another medal, Rory weighed it up and thought it was a chance worth taking.'

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