Outgoing Cork senior hurling manager Kieran Kingston isn’t ruling out a return to inter-county management in the future, but says that Cork, like many counties, could benefit from a supporters’ club or other mechanisms providing extra financial resources and facilities for its elite teams.
“I am not taking up the option of a further term as Cork senior hurling manager as, for the foreseeable future, I’m unable to combine my work and family commitments with the sheer amount of time needed for inter-county management at the top level,” Kingston said last night.
“I’m self-employed and I travel with my work, which thankfully is very busy at the moment. This impacts on the time available for intercounty duties.
“As many inter-county managers have pointed out recently, only those involved at this level are aware of the sheer level of time commitment involved. To be honest, you need to walk a mile in a manager’s shoes to get some idea of the job.
“It’s a professional commitment in all but name, and it amounts to a second full-time job for any manager who has ambitions not just to participate, but to succeed at the highest level.
“As everybody knows, the position of Cork senior hurling manager is a voluntary one. Certainly, financial considerations played no part in my accepting the position originally, nor in declining the offer of a further term recently - I simply could not and would not in any way commit to a further term unless I could give the position 100% in terms of the time and focus it deserves.
“Cork hurling, the players, backroom team and supporters expect and deserve that.”
Kingston was warm in his praise for those involved with the Cork hurling squad, on and off the field.
“I certainly want to thank the people of Cork for their fantastic support during my time with the county hurlers. Their passion and encouragement was humbling and energising for all of us who were involved.
“The players themselves left no stone unturned in their commitment to Cork, and I mean that. I couldn’t have asked any more of them, and they’re a credit to their families, their clubs and their county.
“Similarly, the entire backroom team put their lives on hold and committed 100% to the cause: I want to put on record my thanks to them for everything they did.
“I wish everybody involved only the best in the coming years, and I have to thank them for creating unforgettable memories such as the Munster hurling campaign, culminating with the Munster hurling victories in minor and senior this year. I also want to thank my family for their huge support and encouragement over the last two years, and before that, when I was a selector/coach with Jimmy Barry-Murphy.”
The Tracton club man did indicate he may be open to a return in the future: “Right now this is a busy time with work, and I also have three kids in college, so it’s full on. Who knows what might happen in the future - if the appetite was there in a couple of years and the opportunity arose again to go back into inter-county management I would certainly consider it.”
Kingston believes Cork hurling has a bright future ahead but that it needs to be fully resourced to succeed.
“I think Cork have the players and the capability to succeed at all levels in the next few years but the approach has to be planned, structured and resourced properly. We have some excellent young players in Cork at all levels.
“County boards can only do so much - if you look at any top county, in hurling or football, most of them have funding mechanisms running alongside the county boards which help with resources and facilities.
“I’m not talking about paid managers but the resources which give counties those vital extra percentage points which can make all the difference, such as the Cork footballers’ fund I read about recently in the Examiner.
“That’s a good example of what I refer to and it exists in other counties as well. You don’t get into a job like this for pats on the back but I suppose I take some satisfaction in handing over the reins to the new manager with the team in a good place, and I wish him all the best.
“It’s been a challenging but hugely rewarding five years, the last two in particular as manager, and I want to thank the County Board for the opportunity to manage my county team, as I consider it a huge honour to have done so.
“I’ve always been hugely passionate about Cork hurling, and that passion is as strong as ever, but I’ve also been involved for five of the last six years, and continuing for a further two years is not possible at this juncture.”
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