looks at the contenders to succeed John Meyler as Cork senior hurling manager.
A surprise departure from the post two years ago, following a season in which Cork won an unexpected Munster SHC title, Kingston has since stated that he would consider a return to the helm of Cork hurling. “I might [return], yeah, if the opportunity arose and I had the appetite. I certainly wouldn’t rule it out,” he said in December of 2017.
Has stepped back onto the sideline, as part of the Douglas senior hurling backroom team, a sure sign the managerial bug is biting.
That he was popular among the Cork players, whilst steering the ship in 2016/17, will certainly be taken into consideration and any potential return would be strengthened if Pat Ryan, coach during Kingston’s first stint in the hot-seat, was part of the ticket.
The key question is whether the new Cork County Board wants a fresh voice to lead Cork hurling or if it is willing to go back to the future.
No questioning this man’s knowledge of the Cork scene, particularly the talent in the underage ranks. Brings plenty of experience to the table, too, having served as Cork selector and, later, coach, while part of Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s backroom team in 2012 and 2013.
There was also his three years as Dublin boss, during which, however, a small number of high-profile players, including Danny Sutcliffe and Mark Schutte, withdrew their services. Could the, at times, turbulent nature of his Dublin premiership count against him?
Is it time the Cork County Board turned to a member of the class of 1999 to lead the county senior team?
If the board were leaning more towards a coach/manager-type figure, as they did when appointing Ronan McCarthy to the football job, then three-time All-Ireland medal winner O’Connor would surely have to be in the reckoning.
Headed up a three-man management team that guided Charleville to promotion to the senior ranks last autumn. This was followed by Munster intermediate glory and an All-Ireland final appearance. The north Cork club has already made a bright start to life at senior level. Lack of inter-county experience, where the sideline is concerned, may hinder his chances.
O’Connor’s team-mate from those All-Ireland-winning teams of the late nineties and early noughties has already served his apprenticeship at inter-county level, spending two years as Clare senior hurling coach, a stint that included Allianz league glory in 2016.
He continues, though, to be a polarising figure within the county, as evidenced by the reaction to his Sunday Game comments from last weekend. Having returned to punditry this season, does the Cloyne native want to swap his seat in Montrose for the bainisteoir bib?