Kieran Kingston was understandably delighted yesterday, but dismissed suggestions that Cork had deliberately embarked on a youth policy.
“People have said we went on a youth policy, and that may be how it looks from the outside, but we pick players on form, players who delivered for us in the Munster league and the national league, who’ve shown form for us in training, in matches... we’ve tried to be fair.
“Age shouldn’t come into it but three of those players are 19, one is 20. People say it’s a youth policy, but that goes with the territory.
“We kept the focus on trying to be the best we could and trying to get a performance from the players and see where that left us. Today was really a barometer on where we are in our progress and where we are in our development of what is a somewhat new team.
“We asked for a performance and I’m certainly delighted in how the lads responded, how they executed it because once they go over the white line, they’re on their own.” Kingston said Cork had been seen as underdogs all year: “We were, and it is what it is. As soon as the draw was made we were underdogs, and we started the year as favourites for relegation from the league. Next thing was being hammered out the gate by Tipperary.
“It can be very difficult to keep that out of the camp sometimes, but I said all year that all we’d continue to do is to continue to prepare as best we can, to get the best 15 available on the field, and to get them to put in the performance that you’d expect from a hurler wearing the Cork jersey. That’s what we kept on about, but it sometimes takes a while to develop that culture in a team. I’m not saying we have it, don’t get me wrong, it’s one game and that’s all it is - one win.”
The Tracton man paid tribute to goalscorer Michael Cahalane, having recovered from a serious heart complaint last year. Kingston agreed that it was fairytale stuff: “It is, to come on, get the ball and finish like he did. For him personally, where a year ago he was just starting back to play hurling, and then to get a goal against Tipperary in the Munster championship, it’s what dreams are made of.”
Kingston stressed the collective performance but explained the decision to move Conor Lehane onto frees and stressed Anthony Nash’s bravery: “Every fella really, really worked. The team worked very hard, individually and as a group in defence and attack. That’s all you can ask for the team.
“We said going out, just give it your all, put in the best performance you can and if it’s good enough, it’s good enough and if we can look at each other afterwards if it’s not good enough.
“Any team needs to have two or three reliable free-takers. We’ve seen that over the last number of years, all the All-Ireland winning best teams, they swap free-takers during games. They swap it from game to game and we’re no different.
“We have to have more than one free-taker at this level of hurling. A guy gets injured after ten minutes, all of a sudden you’ve no free-taker. That’s part and parcel of management really.
“(Anthony) had one good save in particular. But I thought we were very unlucky when Seamus Harnedy went through and he could have scored before half-time. All in all, I think the one thing against Tipperary is every time you score, they go back up and score. I’d say it was a good game for the neutrals.”
Cork face Waterford the next day: “That game will take on its own life. It’s very important that we stayed grounded. (Today) will have no bearing. In a way you’re sitting ducks for the next game, unless we’re grounded and keep things in context and keep balanced. We didn’t look beyond today’s game. Absolutely not.
“We’d no right to do so and we’ll start thinking about that from tonight on.”
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