Brian Cody's longevity in the Kilkenny manager's job hasn’t often been seen as a positive by other hurling counties.

After all, in his 21 seasons in charge he has masterminded 11 All-Ireland wins and a further five final appearances across a two decade long period of unprecedented domination.

There has been one key benefit for a small number of other counties, however – particularly those hoping to emerge from the shadows.

With Cody in the job for so long and apparently going nowhere, ambitious young Cats looking for inter-county management experience have had to head over the border.

Brian Cody and selector James McGarry

On Tuesday night ripples of surprise pulsed through the hurling world when news broke that Michael Fennelly was set to take over as Offaly manager. It was as much as a surprise that they had managed to keep it quiet as it was that they’d landed such a big fish.

Fennelly is an eight-time All-Ireland winner with Kilkenny, a former Hurler of the Year and at 34 years old he captained Ballyhale Shamrocks to All-Ireland club glory on St Patrick’s Day just gone.

He is taking over a Faithful County team in freefall, suffering back-to-back relegations from the Liam MacCarthy Cup and Joe McDonagh Cup and will compete in the tier three Christy Ring next season.

Fennelly has always put his money where his mouth is in hurling, on and off the field. He left a bank job to return to college to complete a masters in sports performance and he now lectures in Limerick IT while studying for a doctorate in leadership.

At the very least, you’d imagine that the best players in Offaly will make themselves available and that he’ll be able to get them fit and organised, which should be enough to get them straight back out of the Christy Ring Cup.

Ballyhale manager Henry Shefflin

If he achieves that, his management career will be up and running.

Some of his former team-mates in the stripy jersey are ahead of him though. Eddie Brennan has built a solid reputation having led Laois to the McDonagh Cup this year and a memorable All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final win over Dublin.

And there’s David Herity in Kildare, another Ring level county, who cut his teeth with Dublin camogie and helped turn them into a competitive team in the top flight after a long time away.

There’s no sign of Cody walking away from the job anytime soon and it would be hard to find a voice within the county calling for him to step down so it’s likely that others will follow this route out of Kilkenny.

There are plenty of great players who achieved glory under Cody who will want to pull on the Bainisteoir bib and prove their leadership on the sideline.

Herity on the Dublin sideline in 2017

Whenever Cody does decide to go, it will be a crowded marketplace for those hoping to succeed him.

It seems logical that Brennan, Fennelly and Herity would fancy a crack at the top job. And there are others too.

James McGarry, like Herity a former All-Ireland winning goalkeeper, built up his reputation with Ballyhale before being promoted to Cody’s current backroom team.

Another legend DJ Carey was in charge of the Kilkenny Under-20 hurlers this year, as well as the county’s minor footballers, and then there’s Henry Shefflin.

The greatest player of his generation, if not all time, is seen by many as Cody’s logical heir and he’s certainly playing his part. His first managerial appointment on putting his hurl down for the last time was with his club Ballyhale Shamrocks and he led them to this year’s All-Ireland title – with Fennelly as his captain.