Saturday 25 May 2019

Modest Meyler turns focus straight away to semi-final

Cork manager John Meyler with his son, Ireland soccer player, David Meyler
Cork manager John Meyler with his son, Ireland soccer player, David Meyler

Diarmuid Sheehan

Credit where credit is due, John Meyler saw a problem, made a decision, dealt with it and ultimately guided Cork to the Munster title and for that the praise can't be high enough. Cork's hurling manager did everything that you would want from your commander and chief and for that he deserves the highest of praise.

Coming in after Kieran Kingston at the start of this season was never likely to be an easy proposition for the man tasked with bringing All Ireland glory back to the Rebel county but to this point it seems to be working out a treat for both the team, the fans and the man himself.

Unbeaten in championship hurling this year Cork rocked up to Thurles last weekend confident, but far from cocky and while the game didn't start they way the men in red would have liked it ended as planned, with Cork on the front foot and Seamus Harnedy with his hands in the air.

Meyler played down the influence of his half-time talk believing that this one changed before the sides headed for the tunnel.

"Really there were few words at half-time really. This game was won in the last five minutes of the first half when we went eight points down and got it back to four, I think that was critical.

"To go in down four points down at half time was critical and we had a few words to say at half time but in fairness we got the composure back. Our work rate wasn't good enough in the first half, we were sloppy, we were a yard behind Clare so all we needed to do was to get that composure back in and in fairness we got that at half time."

While retaining the title clearly pleased the main man he believes that it is only a step to where Cork need to be.

"Really it is just another match, it is over with, we are in an All Ireland semi final and we need to rectify what went on last year. What went on against Waterford last year was not acceptable and we will be emphasising that to the players - we have won a Munster Championship, unbeaten in eight Munster Championship matches, we now go to Croke Park in four weeks time and we need to step it up again and no doubt we will as there is incredible character in those players that went out there today."

Losing to Waterford in the semi in 2017 still wrangles with Meyler who believes his side now have the chance to right the wrongs of that day.

"It was the finish and you go out of Croke Park losing by eleven or twelve points and you can't rectify that wrong, you're out, but twelve months later we have an opportunity to rectify that and we have to do it and that is the bottom line - there is no looking back to winning two Munster titles in-a-row, that is gone and finished and over with, we are in Croke Park now in four weeks time and we must perform."

While Meyler looks and sounds like a man on a mission he is clear that the focus isn't on the final date in August.

"It is about four week's time and it's about the semi-final. I'm not sure who is going to come out against us but that is where we need to focus and get it right this time."

Meyler obviously puts great stock in his son David Meyler's thoughts and the Irish international soccer player has been instilling the importance of not looking back to past events for guidance on upcoming challenges.

"In fairness to my son David he always says be really focussed on forgetting what has gone on, forget about six weeks ago and games against Tipperary and Clare, those games have nothing to do with today's game or the lead up to it.

"Today was a new game in Thurles, Tony Kelly was the centre-forward today and he was midfield the last day. It is just a match that we have won, another Munster Final and we are just four weeks away from an All Ireland semi-final.

"The GAA can be over the top about thinking about the games that have gone instead of focussing in the game ahead. We need to focus on why we were sloppy for 30 minutes.

"Conlon cleared us later on. Spillane went in and negated him later on and we got those match-ups dead on. Some of the point taking in the second half was incredible."

Meyler will lead his charges to Croker in just over three weeks' time and, while the red army seem to be on the march, the manager will do all in his power to keep what could easily become a runaway train firmly on track.