Cork hurling manager Kieran Kingston has paid a glowing tribute to the players released from the Rebels’ senior hurling panel this week, describing them as giving “massive commitment” to county hurling side over recent years.
Shane O’Neill, Patrick Cronin, Stephen Moylan, Cian McCarthy, and Paudie O’Sullivan were released by management but Kingston added the door is not closed against their future participation with Cork.
“It’s important for me to recognise the lads we’ve released, the sacrifice and commitment they gave to Cork hurling over several years,” Kingston said.
“They were very unlucky not to win an All-Ireland three years ago, and unlucky also to have played in an era when Cork didn’t win an All-Ireland, that all some of them have to show for their time is a Munster championship medal despite giving huge commitment and massive sacrifices for Cork. That’s very important, to put that on the record.
“The second thing is that the door is never closed — the panel isn’t set in stone forever, with nobody ever having a chance to come back in.
“We’ll be looking at the performances in all the club championships as well as U21, and we’ll be judging players on those performances. Not in a million years is the panel closed, nor would it ever be.”
Kingston added that he and his selectors were also keen to build for the future as well as competing in the 2016 championship.
“There have been a lot of changes recently — changes of management, of trainers, of coaching styles, all of that, so it was important for us to consolidate as much as we could.
“We used 29 players in the first five league games, and the focus for us is to be the best we possibly can be in 2016, but we also have a responsibility to start building for the future as well.
“We have a panel of 30, and we want to bring through U21 players. We have six on the panel now, and there are a further four players from last year’s minors we want to look at, but they’re exam-tied at the moment.
“We looked at the last three minor teams and we now have 10 players from those teams on the panel. I’m not guaranteeing they’ll all come through but we need to have them on the panel to learn from the experience from the lads who’ve been there a few years. We’d hope they’ll contend for places in the coming years.
“If you look back at it, Seamus Harnedy was on the line carrying hurleys in 2012, and he was an All Star the following year. Mark Ellis and Alan Cadogan were on the extended panel in 2013 and they were starring on the team the following year. Cormac Murphy was on the extended panel in 2014, and the following year he was a starter.
“It’s the same with these lads. We want to prepare them, and while we want to do the best we can in 2016, obviously, we also have to have an eye on the future.”
Kingston added that the players will be released to the clubs for a week after meeting as a panel last night.
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