"It literally ate me up inside" - Jackie Tyrrell talks confidence issues, Brian Cody and The Warrior Code

Kilkenny hurling legend chats in depth to Ger about life on and off the pitch

When you take a cursory glance at Jackie Tyrell's medal cabinet, it's hard to believe that at points during his career, the Kilkenny legend was plagued by self doubts.

That revelation is part of his autobiography, The Warrior's Code, which contains stories and insights galore from his time in the greatest inter-county team of them all.

Just a reminder of the roll-call to put that in some context: Nine All Ireland winners medals and 11 Leinster titles, and that's not even counting the four All Stars he won individually.

On Friday, he joined Ger for a candid chat about his playing career which ended after last year's Championship. 

"I came from a place of being very mentally weak and had confidence issues and that's an expression of where I've come to and where I stand," he admitted.

"Sixteen and a half years of age, I made the Kilkenny Minor team, went up to play an All Ireland semi final against Galwayk, was full back. David Forde took me for five points. I took it very, very bad. It literally ate me up inside. I couldn't let it go. It kind of scarred me deep down and you just carry on with life but I never dealt with it or addressed it."

That was just the start of the self-doubts which would resurface again. But one of the key figures for him - and by extension for some of the Kilkenny players of the uber successful Brian Cody era - was Brother Damien.  

Kilkenny's Jackie Tyrrell and Brian Cody celebrate at the final whistle ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

"I got chatting to him and he was talking to me about stuff that I never knew before about letting go of fears and doubts and forgetting about the people and supporters and just concentrating on myself and being the best version of myself," he said, adding that "it started from there and I started playing well" and that he "wasn't looking over his shoulder as much".

Another interesting aspects of the book is his relationship with Kilkenny manager Brian Cody, who also taught him in school. 

"That's Brian's management style. He keeps that distance from the players and it works," he revealed.

"It's kind of like, treat them mean, keep them keen kind of a thing. Brian, he thought me in school and he's obviously a massive figure in James Stephens' club. So he was always central, I wouldn't say in my life, but he was always in and around and then obviously gave me the call.

"But I always had a thing with Brian, if Brian's coming to look to talk to you, there might be something wrong or you might be in trouble, so I would keep out of his way and keep the head down and I'd work as hard as possible. Now, he would talk to lads an awful lot more - other lads - but I took it as a compliment that I was doing OK."