Brian Cody has announced his retirement as manager of the Kilkenny senior hurling team, ending a 24-year reign of unprecedented success.

The 68-year-old announced his decision to step down from the hot-seat in the wake of the Cats' All-Ireland final defeat to Limerick on Sunday.

The news was confirmed in a statement released by Kilkenny GAA this afternoon, in which they described Cody as the "greatest manager in the history of hurling" and said he had created "an unbreakable spirit" within Kilkenny hurling.

"Appointed in November 1998, Brian has led the Kilkenny team to unprecedented provincial and national success and is regarded as the greatest manager in the history of hurling," the statement said.

"As manager, his teams have won eleven All Ireland Hurling Championships (including a record-equalling four in a row between 2006 and 2009), eighteen Leinster Championships, ten National Hurling League titles, seven Walsh Cup titles and an Oireachtas Tournament title.

"In achieving all of this success Brian has created an unbreakable spirit among his players and teams which has come to define Kilkenny hurling.

"On behalf of Kilkenny people everywhere, Kilkenny County Board extends sincere gratitude to Brian for his life time of contribution to the county and the commitment and passion he brought as a player and as manager, working tirelessly with a single aim, to do what was best for Kilkenny hurling.

Cody with Liam MacCarthy at the Kilkenny team homecoming in 2014, his 10th All-Ireland title as manager

"The Board would also like to acknowledge the bond Brian helped create between Team Management, Players, County Board, Clubs and Supporters Clubs as all worked seamlessly together in preparing our teams while organising and promoting our games.

"We are aware of the huge debt we owe Brian for the wonderful successes and occasions we have enjoyed as we watched the teams he created play and succeed. Wherever and whenever our games are discussed in the future, Brian Cody's achievements will be the benchmark managers will be measured by.

"We wish Brian all the best in the future."

Cody took charge of Kilkenny in 1998 and the following season led them to Croke Park for the All-Ireland final, where they were narrowly edged out by Cork, losing by a single point.

They returned the following year and blew Offaly away, winning 5-15 to 1-14 for the first of his 11 All-Ireland final victories as the manager.

Kilkenny became synonymous with Croke Park in September with Cody at the helm, competing in 17 finals, including their famous four-in-a-row between 2006 and 2009.

Tipperary managed to get the better of the Cats in the 2010 final but Cody's charges roared back the following year and went on to win back-to-back titles twice in a second era of dominance.

Kilkenny's last Liam MacCarthy triumph came in 2015 when they beat Galway by four points and while they've been back in Croke Park for the decider three times since then, the pendulum has swung in favour of Limerick, who are now dominating in the same way that Cody's men did previously.

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