The 2017 All Ireland hurling championship was one to forget for Brian Cody as his Kilkenny, who have been so dominant over the last two decades fell short in Leinster and nationally.
But Cody and co will be back for another attempt to make it back to the summit as he made very clear as he spoke to our own Oisin Langan at his former alma mater St Kieran's College for the launch of the Top Oil Senior Colleges Hurling Championship.
"The year that has gone by, obviously we weren't successful and we weren't as competitive as we needed to be either and I think always when that is the situation, regardless of whether you have been successful or not, I would always look at ourselves, our input into it, my own input into it, could we have improved, could we have done better. I think the first thing to do is to question yourselves," he said, but also felt the spirit and attitude was always there as exemplified by the battling qualities shown against Waterford.
Kilkenny manager Brian Cody reacts after losing possession ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson
"The challenge is there now for us to try and improve for the coming year. But it's going to be a big challenge because the level of competition out there is top notch."
On the amount of introspection after a tough season, he explained that, "I don't crucify myself" because he is comfortable that regardless of a good or bad campaign, they will have done everything humanly possible to try to be successful.
And he had no major doubts about continuing his uber-successful reign as Kilkenny manager.
"At no stage did I ever think that I don't really want to do it. I look forward to the challenge next year," he said.
"The general thinking is obviously and understandably that we're not going to be in the running for any kind of success, that we'll find it very difficult to be competitive.
"We haven't had success at under-21 level for quite a while now. We got to the final this year and were well beaten by a very, very good Limerick team so I think even with the county, there would be no success of 'well look it, we'll be flying next year'. I don't know what we'll be doing as regards but I do know that we'll be putting in a huge effort and to be honest about it, I would always have a real positive sense of potential for the hurlers that we have in the county. It's our challenge to try and maximise that."