Tuesday 26 September 2017

Kingston hails Cork's growing maturity but warns Rebels to remember 2014

Cork manager Kieran Kingston, 2nd from right, and selector Diarmuid O'Sullivan celebrate at the final whistle of the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final match between Clare and Cork at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cork manager Kieran Kingston, 2nd from right, and selector Diarmuid O'Sullivan celebrate at the final whistle of the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Final match between Clare and Cork at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Jackie Cahill

Kieran Kingston hailed the growing maturity in his Cork team following yesterday's Munster final win.

Once again Cork produced a storming finish to see off Clare by five points, refusing to press the panic button when the Banner men came at them in the second-half.

Conor McGrath's goal looked like sparking a Clare fightback, but Cork responded positively to that setback, as they had done when Tipp's John McGrath and Waterford's Maurice Shanahan raised green flags against them in the previous summer outings.

"We never panicked. In both games against Tipperary and Waterford we've got different types of challenges thrown at us, goals came at very challenging times and we reacted well to them," said Kingston.

"We did the same today and that's part of a team that's maturing. You need that type of maturity and experience - albeit they're young, but they're gelling together.

"It's important that we keep this in context. You see the reaction of the Cork crowd out there, they're starved of success. We had a similar reaction in 2014, won a very good Munster championship down in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, but we got a lesson from Tipperary a few weeks later. We have to bear that in mind, as we let the players back to their clubs for the next couple of weeks and then prepare for a semi-final.

"If you look back on 2014, everybody remembers the beating Cork got from Tipp above in Croke Park. Nobody remembers Cork winning the Munster title, so this will all be forgotten about in five weeks if we don't put in a performance."

Conor Lehane cut a more subdued figure yesterday, obviously still carrying the effects of an ankle ligament injury, having scored 0-14 against Tipp and Waterford combined. He also pointed to Cork's ability to stick together when the going gets tough.

The Midleton man explained: "We kind of called each other out. As I said before, we've really stuck to getting rid of the individual stuff and focus on what's for the benefit of the team. It obviously works, it's worked so far, so we're going to stick to that.

"As good as it is, today is a step. The semi-final will be the fourth step. That's a long time away now, I know, but it's all about moving forward and not getting caught up in it.

"We got the hardest route possible, to be honest, when we heard the draw with Tipp and Waterford, but we just took it game by game."

It's taken them to Croke Park and an All-Ireland semi-final on August 13, on a sod that could prove very much to their liking, given the open and expansive game that the Rebels favour.

For Clare, it's a quarter-final in less than a fortnight, and joint-manager Donal Moloney is backing his men to bounce back.

"We'll pick it up, absolutely. We'll be disappointed, we'll have a chat this evening and regroup tomorrow and go again," he said.

"If you convert your chances, you're the better team, and they converted their chances. We didn't.

"Those boys will be hurting hugely, as will the management team.

"We're not into moral victories or people saying we played well. I appreciate the gesture, but it's meaningless to the team."

Irish Independent

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