Saturday 20 October 2018

Rebel Mark Coleman disputes The Rock's scathing criticism of boss John Meyler

Mark Coleman of Cork in action against Séamus Flanagan and (inset) John Meyler
Mark Coleman of Cork in action against Séamus Flanagan and (inset) John Meyler
Mark Coleman will be hoping to get back to winning ways when he lines out for Cork against Wexford in the Bord Gáis Energy U-21 All-Ireland Hurling Championship semi-final at Nowlan Park on Saturday. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Out of the frying pan and into the fire. There has scarcely been time for Mark Coleman to draw breath following last Sunday's All-Ireland SHC semi-final defeat at the hands of Limerick. That's because, on Saturday, he'll brace himself and go again as the Rebels take on Wexford in a Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U-21 semi-final.

Perhaps that busy schedule is a good thing because there's been fallout on Leeside since the seniors' defeat.

Diarmuid O'Sullivan, a selector with the group last year, was scathing in his criticism of manager John Meyler with regard to some of their decisions on the line.

Coleman's involvement with the U-21s means he has something else to focus on rather than pointing fingers.

"I think it was the circumstances. Every game is different," he said of 'The Rock's' assertion that the panel lacked depth.

"Different players are suited...you know, Daniel Kearney came back on, they obviously wanted him to play a certain role in extra-time. He said he was able to. I think the management just thought it was the best decision to make at the time, which is fair enough.

"He went out and I think he had a good enough extra-time. I don't think it shows lack of depth. I think that we've definitely developed huge strength in depth over the last few years."

O'Sullivan described the decision to leave Seamus Harnedy on the field for the start of extra-time as "criminal", but Coleman doesn't agree.

"He wanted to go back out and, if he felt he wasn't up to it, he would have said it. He's that kind of fella. He just showed huge leadership in wanting to go back out and wanting to be the best that he could for the team and for the county.

"I know that if he felt he wasn't able to give something to the team, he wouldn't have gone out, so I wouldn't see anything wrong with that.

Moments

"I suppose when it gets to extra time, it's just all hands on deck really, just put the shoulder to the wheel and drive on. The lads put their hands up and said they'd come back on, no bother. I think we just threw the kitchen sink at it really and unfortunately just came up short."

"That's just sport. You're going to have moments like that and there were moments like that in all the other games as well. Sometimes you win and sometimes you just don't. Things went against us.

"I think we can have no regrets. We just gave it everything we could and Limerick got a purple patch there at the end. We just couldn't stop them. To be fair to them, I think it was a case of them winning it rather than us just throwing it away. They just had that never-say-die attitude and you have to give the credit where it is due. They deserved it."

Coleman has quickly established himself as one of the brightest young talents in the country having only made his debut early last year.

"I didn't really know what to expect when I started playing senior at the start of last year.

"It was made easier for me in that, at the start of last year, Kieran Kingston said there was no pressure on me, just go out and make mistakes, just constantly go out and enjoy it. So there was no pressure on me.

"I suppose the fact that there was other younger fellas coming alongside me - Darragh Fitzgibbon, Shane Kingston, Luke Meade, all of them. So the spotlight wasn't really on me, it was split up between the lot of us. So that probably made it a bit easier."

After Kieran Kingston's decision to step away at the end of 2017, he's hoping that Cork can maintain stability at the top and retain the services of manager John Meyler.

"Yeah, definitely, I think he's added a huge amount again in the last year. His passion, the lads with him - Kieran Murphy, Donal O'Mahony, Seanie Barry - I think they've all (added a lot).

"I think there's kind of a culture there now and hopefully we can carry that on and I think, yeah, it would be nice for him to stay all right."

Irish Independent

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