Meyler questions why drawn semi-finals don't get replay
John Meyler cut a lonely, but determined figure in the bowels of Croke Park last Sunday evening after his Cork side bowed out to Limerick in dramatic familiar fashion.
The loss was, as one would expect, hard to accept for the mild-mannered manager, but he still fulfilled his post-match duties with as much honesty and candour as he could muster.
"Gutted is an understatement. The fact that we were six points up in the 62nd minute and then failed to close out the game is a critical point. Their goal then with Cian Lynch, I think we could have possibly got a foul there, but Limerick drove on, from that. Then you had Casey and Dowling coming in and they made a huge contribution in terms of driving their team forward.
"I thought then going in extra-time that we were in good enough shape when there was only a point in it, but the penalty killed us putting four between us and again they drove on and after that their number 26 (Pat Ryan) got the last goal and that all made a massive contribution there in the end."
Meyler acknowledged that he foresaw the influence that Limerick's bench was likely to have when they were introduced with his admiration being saved for two players in particular.
"Casey and Dowling came on things were likely to change. We were six up and playing well and then they came in and they added to Limerick. At that time we had an opportunity, Robbie O'Flynn lost his hurley and got the ball to Seamus [Harnedy] and he could have gone for a point.
"They are the decisions that are critical at this level. They are the small errors the small margins that could have possibly won us that game but you need to be here all the time to learn from those mistakes, but here you just don't get the chances because they (Limerick) are coming and they want to play in an All-Ireland final too and they were extremely good today and I take my hat off to them."
Meyler may have known that his side were ultimately out fought but he did have plenty admiration for the younger players in the blood and bandage.
"We have a lot of young fellows that came on and did really well. You have Robbie [O'Flynn, below], Kearney's contribution was incredible and Tim [O'Mahony] still only 21 years of age with a long way to go and hopefully they will win an under 21 All Ireland which would develop them.
"Limerick have more senior younger players, if you know what I mean and they made a difference there."
Meyler may well have spoken at length in the past about his support for the new Munster Championship system however he did feel that the lack of a replay after 70 minutes in an All-Ireland Final is something that is deserved.
"We came up short here and that is that but It's kind of a small bit funny when you draw a Leinster Final and it's a replay, (don't get me wrong here I am not making excuses), but if you draw a Leinster Final you get a replay, but if you draw an All-Ireland semi-final after full time you don't - but they are the rules that are there so you just have to play to those.
"Overall I think we were extremely competitive over the 70 minutes, we just lost our way in that critical minute or two and Limerick drove on again. They were very competitive in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and in the National Hurling League and they have matured as they have gone on.
"I think we also have matured but they are probably a bit further on than us with their senior younger players - and I have said that before. The likes of Kyle Hayes, Cian Lynch, who had a massive contribution today, with the Morrisseys also doing really well. You know that is the gap."
John Meyler will take time to work out just what went wrong and what he can do to put it right in 2019. His charges have helped to bring Cork hurling back to the top table, but they still need to dine from the champion's chair, and until happens the pressure will keep rising for one of the superpowers of Irish hurling.