Departing coach Kingston says Cork can be tops

Outgoing Cork hurling coach Kieran Kingston is convinced the current crop of players can win an All-Ireland title.

Kingston yesterday announced his departure from Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s management team yesterday due to work commitments.

The Tracton clubman, who was also a selector, last night praised the potential in the squad and admitted he would love to return to a role when time allows.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that this Cork team can be successful,” he said.

“It was one of the big factors in my decision taking so long as I felt that I had unfinished business and I’ve a good rapport with the players.

“This team is definitely good enough to win an All-Ireland. Okay, the year finished disappointingly against Tipperary but even in that game we had 11 wides in the first-half when we’d only been averaging seven wides all year.

“We probably started going for goals too early in the second-half and maybe that was just a bit of experience lacking. In the other games, once we picked up momentum, we were excellent.

“We beat Waterford by 14 points and we were 11 points up against Clare going into injury time. Against Limerick, we won by six, they were all games we never looked like losing.

“To win the Munster championship by beating the Munster and All-Ireland champions was a thrill and there’s loads of potential within the group so you’d like to be involved. We set three goals this year and we achieved two of them, promotion and winning Munster.

“At the same time, there’s no way you can be away for as much I will be over the next eight or 10 months and try to coach Cork. In the future I’d love to be involved again if the opportunity arose.”

The decision to walk away was not an easy one, with Kingston having consulted manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy at length.

“I deliberated over it for a number of weeks,” he said, “and spoke to Jimmy a couple of time. To be a selector for two years was great but then to be coach as well, like I was this year, was more challenging and timeconsuming.

“But it was also very rewarding. It’s the way of my work that there’s a lot of travelling involved in the near future and it’s not practical to combine that with the coaching, it wouldn’t be fair to Jimmy, the players, the fans or the county board. You can’t half-do it,” explained Kingston who is self-employed in the financial services and property management fields.

Barry-Murphy paid tribute to Kingston for his “outstanding contribution over the past three years, both as coach and selector. He was instrumental in Cork’s Munster final victory last year, and I hope to see him back working with Cork again in the future.”

The Cork County Board expect Barry-Murphy will have his management team for the coming year finalised within the next fortnight.

Meanwhile, Aidan Walsh revealed he has made a decision about his inter-county future and will inform Barry-Murphy and Brian Cuthbert later this week. The indications at the moment are the 24-year-old will opt for football. Walsh, named as vice-captain of Ireland’s International Rules team yesterday, admits it was a difficult decision to pick one code over the other but felt he had to after seeing his performances in both games suffer this year. “I know what I’m at, alright, but I haven’t said anything yet. It’ll be another few days before I get it out there. I’ve to put it to bed now this week. I said I’d tell the manager first before I’d say anything (publicly).

“I’ve been to-ing and fro-ing the last few weeks. I suppose it’s kind of a good position to be in — in the sense that I’m very fortunate and lucky to play hurling and football but it’s very hard in the sense that whoever you don’t play with, you’re going to miss out on that. Fellas that you’d know very well and stuff.

“It’s very hard that way but sure that’s the way it is. I know for my own sake that I have to pick one because last year I wasn’t happy with the way things turned out and the way things went.”

Walsh, who is finishing an honours degree in Cork IT this year, also said he should be eligible to play Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cup for the college in early 2015.

However, he confirmed he will only play whichever code he decides as his inter-county sport next season.

“I actually think I can play again because it’s ‘progressing’. I was at CIT for three years in recreation and leisure, got that degree and now when you get that degree you can go on to a business degree, so you’re progressing. So that’s the reason I can go back playing Sigerson again, or Fitzgibbon.”

Walsh was unable to line out for DCU in 2012 because of a new eligibility rule. He’s glad those days are firmly behind him. “I’m lucky enough that I’m able to play hurling and football at the highest level, I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to DCU but sure when you’re not able to play that was disappointing.”


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