Rebel boss no fan of Saturday night lights

Rebel boss no fan of Saturday night lights

By John Fogarty

John Meyler would prefer if Cork’s Allianz Division 1A opener against Kilkenny was played on Sunday afternoon and not on Saturday night.

The new manager completely understands why the game is scheduled for an evening throw-in as Páirc Uí Chaoimh is celebrated as the first stadium in the country to boast LED lights. The game will also be broadcasted live on eir Sport.

However, he admits to being a traditionalist when it comes to throw-in times.

“The whole thing today is about customer experience, it’s about social media and what the public want. It’s not what we want.

"We want to play on Sunday at 2pm. But Saturday night, live TV, this is what people want. There’s a fantastic experience available now in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. You go to Páirc Uí Chaoimh now and there are fantastic facilities and that will all be available on Saturday night.”

Meyler knows Cork people anticipate bigger things this season after last year’s surprise Munster SHC title win.

“When I got involved last year, people were saying to me they were just looking for performances. As the year went on, there was more expectation then. Suddenly, (Mark) Coleman and (Darragh) Fitzgibbon started to play, Luke Meade and Colm Spillane, they upped the tempo.

“People saw the shoots coming. They saw things were happening and got behind the team. The fact they were young and energetic, Cork people love that and the speed of their hurling. Fitzgibbon’s speed and Coleman did one or two things in Thurles and they were incredible.

"Then you go through the summer and winning the Munster championship was incredible for them and the fact they were such a young side was like what Jimmy (Barry-Murphy) had in 1999 with the younger players.”

Meyler explained his rationale in approaching Eoin Cadogan to switch back to the hurlers to the footballers to link up with his brother Alan. The older brother had worked in tandem with Meyler as U21 strength and conditioning coach last season.

“Eoin is a super guy, a really good presence. He is a role model. He won an All-Ireland football medal with Cork and has brought in that organisational ability, that character, that presence.

"He’s very solid, he’s a good guy and he gets on with it. The fact Alan is there as well is really positive along with Shane Kingston — the three are from the same club. We’re all delighted he’s there.”

The 31-year-old also adds a physical presence to the defence. “He brings a bit of steel, yes, but he brings a bit of organisation. He’s a talker, he’s confident, he’s fit and, hopefully, we can keep him fit and injury-free.”

Meyler revealed he could be without Damien Cahalane for Saturday’s game after the defender picked up a slight knock.

As Cork go in search of their first league win over Kilkenny in six years, Meyler was in Nowlan Park on Saturday to watch Kilkenny go down to Wexford in the Walsh Cup final but left impressed by their application.

“They were extremely competitive.”

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