Kingston: 'I've massive belief in this group of players'

Cork saved their championship season with back to back wins over Waterford and Tipperary - with their summers ending on Sunday afternoon
Kingston: 'I've massive belief in this group of players'

Cork manager Kieran Kingston

Cork manager Kieran Kingston was happy with his side’s win yesterday but is still seeking consistency from his charges.

They beat Tipperary by 12 points in Semple Stadium but Kingston said afterwards: “Two games doesn't make us a consistent team either and certainly one didn't last Sunday.

“We know how important last Sunday (v Waterford) was because obviously it was backs to the wall, lose and you're out and today we approached it in exactly the same way - it was a knockout game as far as we were concerned.

“It's Cork and Tipperary, we all grew up on tales of Cork playing Tipp in Munster hurling, especially up in Thurles. You could see that if today happened to be a dead rubber game, the approach of both teams would have been the same because it's still Cork and Tipp - a massive proud county in Tipperary playing for their jersey and playing for their supporters and playing for themselves and the team. The same goes with us playing Tipperary.

“We got plenty of that at the start. Look back over the last 12 meetings, I think Cork have only beaten Tipp twice in championship hurling and only once up here since 2006, which is back in 2017.

“Like our record against them hasn't been fantastic in championship. We knew that coming up, this was a massive battle. We prepared accordingly.” 

 Is he glad now of a three-week break to their next outing?

“With a little bit of momentum, you'd rather be playing. We're not in control of that.

“We didn't do enough in Munster to be involved in a Munster final.

“We were involved in a league final, we didn't perform. By the skin of our teeth - I think we're the first team to get through in the round-robin having lost the first two games - and that was our aim after the first two games.

“That was the only game in town. So we are delighted with that but disappointed we're not partaking in the Munster final because there's three competitions to play for. The league we lost, Munster we're out of, so we're in the third one now.” 

The Tracton man reaffirmed his belief in his players: “I wouldn't have taken this job if I didn't believe in this group of players, I've massive belief in this group of players.

“And if we had lost the last two games, I would still have fierce belief in this group of players. I wouldn't have come back into them a couple of years ago when they asked me to if I didn't have belief in them and my belief in them has only grown.” 

Kingston acknowledged the large Cork support in Thurles: “The support was awesome. One of the players said last week he thought there were ten thousand Cork people in Walsh Park and we needed their support coming down the stretch.

“Cork people love their hurling and when you get to an All-Ireland final, a league final, expectations go up, and when you don’t deliver, the criticism goes up accordingly.

“We have to deal with that, and we do. We’re privileged to be in this place, as team and management: not everyone would do, or would take the risk of doing, what we do. That’s what makes intercounty different - if it wasn’t there wouldn’t be 30,000 people coming to see them play. The Cork support was awesome. There was a lot of negativity out there, some of it we would have felt was unjustified, but that would be our view. Those were opinions and you know what they say about opinions. You have to look at who’s giving the opinion, too.”

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