The ferociousness of Kilkenny training under Brian Cody has long been established in hurling mythology.

Everyone knows that the most successful manager of the game's history - 11 All-Ireland titles and counting - likes to 'let things flow' at in-house games and the assumption was that the players were being toughened for battle.

If you can take a belt there, you can take one anywhere, to paraphrase Frank Sinatra.

But Martin Fogarty, a selector with Cody for nine seasons and now National Hurling Development Manager, reveals that the desire to make efficient use of time was more of a motivation than promoting aggression. 

"Yeah, he had the whistle and he didn't blow it much. But if lads were fouling, they were being told," Fogarty told the RTÉ GAA Podcast.

"While that whistle wasn't blown, you wouldn’t have seen it or heard it but 'Jimmy, you’re holding his hand’, 'Jimmy you’re dragging’, ‘Jimmy that was a chop’. So there would be giving out and that’s important."

"The reason the whistle wasn’t blown is: every time you time you blow the whistle you stop the game.

"By the time the free is taken, it goes down the field and comes back, you’re losing minutes.

"In your session, you only have so much time. If you have 20 or 30 minutes for a match, you want every second of that almost as a match. You don’t want to be coming back finding out 15 minutes of it was nothing.

"Fouling is a disaster for teams. If you can coach your team not to foul, especially not to give away silly ones…"

Fogarty was joined on the podcast by Eamon O'Shea, former Tipperary hurler, coach and manager, and current 'Performance Director' for the Premier County.

The two discussed their approaches to coaching and hurling development, a shared interest which has seen O'Shea appear on a series of GAA coaching webinars hosted by Fogarty during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

As the focus shifts to the championship formats individual counties are considering, and the perennial club versus county debate, both men are keen to point out that the crisis hasn't fully passed any action at all is a bonus. 

"Before we start getting involved in what happens, how many games and so on, we're still in the midst of a very difficult period," O'Shea warned.

"An unprecedented period really, in terms of what it has meant not just for health but for the economy and society.

"We still need to be cognisant that this is a different environment and a different time.

"Sport and hurling is very important for people, certainly for me, but I don’t think we should lose sight of that.

"Whether it’s a club match or a county match, getting back on the pitch again is to celebrate. It means so much to communities not just to play hurling but even to think about hurling."

"People just need to be very careful and take advice from the experts"

O'Shea thinks that running club games first could provide a welcome lead-in to a county championship while Fogarty observed that starting with county games first would have meant all but 30 players from each county being left out.

"A couple of months ago I would have said if we could get players down to the field in twos, anything else would be a bonus," said Fogarty.

"If we can get to watch matches, all the better but even if we can get down to the field to have a look at lads training that’s what we’re all looking forward to.

"But it might not be as simple as we think. It’s a very serious time and people just need to be very careful and take advice from the experts."

Listen to the RTÉ GAA Podcast at Apple Podcasts, SoundcloudSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.