Meyler still heart-broken by 2018 All-Ireland semi-final defeat
By John Harrington
Cork’s defeat to Limerick in the 2018 All-Ireland SHC semi-final is still a source of huge regret for former manager John Meyler.
The Rebels let a six-point lead slip in the closing minutes of normal time and were then over-powered by Limerick in extra-time.
For Meyler, it still feels like a huge opportunity missed.
“Losing to Limerick in 2018 was heart-breaking really at the end,” says Meyler, who along with Liam Sheedy is one of two team-managers on the PwC All-Stars tour to Abu Dhabi.
“To go in to the last eight minutes six points up and then to lose after extra time was hard, was difficult. We never really got it going as well again.
2019 then, the performance against Tipperary wasn’t really good enough. Then the performance against Limerick was super. So highs and lows.”
The highlight of Meyler’s two-year reign was the a 2018 Munster Championship the Rebels won in some style, but he knows the team’s failure to subsequently win the All-Ireland cast a shadow over the achievement.
"Now that I’m gone I can look back and say, we achieved winning that new Munster championship in 2018 – the first of its kind and I do look back and think, ‘well that was an achievement,’ and I was delighted with it but ultimately we wanted to win the All-Ireland and that’s what you’re judged on,” he said.
“Looking at Tipperary in 2019 they lost the Munster championship. But it’s forgotten about. Limerick winning it is forgotten about and Limerick were really impressive that time.
“In hindsight you can say it was great we won a Munster championship in 2018 – it was the first year of the new format and it was absolutely brilliant. But we’re only judged on winning All-Irelands. And that’s really it.”
Before he was Cork manager, Meyler was a selector under his predecessor in the hot-seat, Kieran Kingston.
Now Kingston has taken the managerial reings again and Meyler believes he and his new management team can make a very positive impact in 2020.
“Kieran has gone back in again with a new management team. Ger Cunningham, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Pat Mulcahy – that will bring a huge emphasis on Cork being competitive again.
“Reorganised the whole backroom team, strength and conditioning. Aidan O’Connell has gone in. There’s huge work gone in to the detail in the background. That will all be a plus.
“They will re-tweak one or two things. Tightening up of the defence. Pat Mulcahy and Diarmuid O’Sullivan will bring a huge experience to that.
“The likes of Declan Dalton has matured. Tommy O’Connell played really well in the U20 All-Ireland. Colm Spillane could be a huge plus if he is free from injury. Alan Cadogan back from injury too.”