Kieran Kingston hails Cork's resurgence
By John Harrington
Cork hurling manager, Kieran Kingston, hailed the incredible progress his young team has made in a short space of time after Sunday’s Munster SHC Final victory over Clare.
There was a nice symbolism to the fact that the provincial title was won exactly a year to the day they were beaten by Wexford in last year’s All-Ireland SHC Qualifiers.
After that defeat many were happy to sound a funeral dirge for the death of Cork hurling as we know it, but instead they've emerged phoenix-like from the flames.
Kingston agreed after yesterday’s win over Clare their sudden revival has been a magnificent achievement for all involved in it.
“It is, I’m not trying to play it down in any way,” he said. “It’s a fantastic win for us because of where we started out from.
“A year is a long time in hurling, we were here a year ago and we were going to be in the doldrums for a decade at least, if not longer you know?
“So a year is a long time but the lads have responded really well. We have a good mix of youth and experience on the panel and we use them as we see fit. Look, it’s great.
“We’re delighted to be Munster champions, it’s only our second victory in 11 years so they have been scarce and you could see that from the reaction of the Cork public out there and the support we got through the Munster championship. But, as I say, you are only as good as the next day.”
Kingston won’t find it difficult to keep his feet on the ground because the memory of how Cork were turned over by Tipperary in the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final is still very fresh in his mind.
“I was a coach in 2014 when we got a hard lesson,” he said.
“We had a five-week run-in and got a lesson from Tipperary in the semi-final. We’ll have a chat about it this, we’ll park it up now this evening and we’ll give the guys a day or two and they’ll go back to their clubs for a couple of weeks.
“They’ll play one or two rounds of championship and get together then for the three weeks leading into it. Those lessons of 2014 are hard learned.
“If you look back on 2014, everybody remembers the beating Cork from Tipp above in Croke Park. Nobody remembers Cork winning the Munster title, so this will all be forgotten about in five weeks’ time if we don’t put in a performance.”
For now, though, Cork will enjoy what must rank as one of the most satisfying Munster Senior Championships they’ve ever won.
Team selector Diarmuid O’Sullivan won five of them as a player, but this one felt just as sweet as any of those.
“Same thing,” he said after yesterday’s win over Clare.
“We're all Cork men. Munster medal on the field or off the field, it's the same thing.
“If I was in the stand, it'd be the same thing. We've Cork in us, that's it.”