by Brendan Cole
Kilkenny are preparing to bring the Liam MacCarthy Cup back home after their stirring All-Ireland final win at Croke Park yesterday.
The Cats won their fifth All-Ireland title in six years with a comprehensive 2-17 to 1-16 victory over last year’s Champions Tipperary and are set for a massive welcome in the Marble City this evening.
The squad is left Citywest Hotel and visited to Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin this afternoon.
They are due to travel by train to Kilkenny and are expected to arrive at 6pm.
Speaking to RTÉ GAA correspondent Brian Carthy, man of the match JJ Delaney hailed manager Brian Cody's influence and the clear gameplan Kilkenny followed.
Video analysis of Tipperary and a decision to go man for man at the back paid dividends as Kilkenny rarely allowed the Premier County men the chance to run at the goal.
The defender said: "His record speaks for itself. He (Cody) is just a great man."
He added: "We knew ourselves coming into the game that had we had a certain job we had to do. Every player, ever defender, every. knew what job he had to do.
"He (Cody) said, ‘right, you have to do that. X, Y and Z’ and that is your job for today. Everyone knew what was going to happen. He is just a great man."
At Tipperary’s base, beaten captain Eoin Kelly admitted that while his team did not play to its full potential, Kilkenny's excellence was a key factor.
"From the team’s point of view we are disappointed. We didn’t perform. I suppose we put our hands up and say we weren’t let perform by Kilkenny."
Kilkenny County Board Chairman Ned Quinn also hailed Cody's influence.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport's Darren Frehill on Morning Ireland at the Kilkenny team hotel, he said: "It is the players that win the games but a lot of the credit goes to Brian."
The subject of whether or not Cody will attempt to win a ninth title as manager has been under discussion since the final whistle.
Quinn said that, as with every year, the manager would face a ratification process but that he "certainly hoped" Cody would remain for another year.