Of all the plaudits and awards Brian Cody has received, this will be the first he will receive from his oldest nemesis; Cork.
According to Cork’s Evening Echo newspaper the Kilkenny senior hurling manager is preparing for what is his 12th All-Ireland Final, since taking charge back in 1999. In the week leading up to the game he will receive an honorary Degree of Doctorates in Arts at University College Cork (UCC).
Cody will be honored at a ceremony in the college on 7th September alongside Munster and Ireland out-half Ronan O’Gara, former Manchester United and Ireland full-back Denis Irwin, well renowned horse trainer Aidan O’Brien and dual Cork camogie and ladies footballer Mary O’Connor.
While the article by Kieran Dineen, which refers to Cody as ‘Our Hurling Nemesis’, is entirely light-hearted, it does recognise that the decision to honour Cody may come as a surprise to some Cork hurling followers considering that the Cats’ boss has been the architect of the downfall of Cork and pretty much every other hurling county on countless occasions in recent years.
Such are Cody’s achievements that he deserves to be honored irrespective of county boundaries.
Many will wonder why it has taken so long for Irwin to be honored by his local university. The now 46 year-old, who grew up within a few short kilometres of the university in Togher on the south side of Cork city, moved to Leeds United as an 18 year-old back in 1983.
Following three years at Elland Road, he moved on to Oldham, before joining Manchester United, where he was to become a household name to footballer followers throughout Britain, Ireland and even Europe. He won seven Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the 1999 UEFA Champions League title during his time at Old Trafford. He won 56 senior international caps for the Republic of Ireland and played at the 1994 World Cup. Since retiring from playing, he has gone on to have a successful media and coaching career.
Ronan O’Gara attended UCC as a student between 1995 and 1999, obtaining a Masters Degree in Business Economics. He has earned 124 international rugby caps for Ireland and was a pivotal member of the 2009 Grand Slam winning side, kicking the clinching drop goal at the end of the final game against Wales. He has played more than 200 times for Munster, helping the province to the 2006 and 2008 Heineken European Cup triumphs.