Friday 18 October 2019

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‘We're starved for success’

Wednesday, 2nd October, 2019 4:54pm

Newly appointed Cork senior hurling manager Kieran Kingston has described his return to the role as “an itch I had to scratch”.

He made the comment at a press conference held at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday morning at which new managers for the Under 16, Minor, Under 20 and Senior Cork hurling teams were presented.

Kingston returns to the hot seat after previously holding the position from 2016-2017 during which he secured one Munster title but failed to reach an All-Ireland Final.

“When I left in 2017, I had very good reasons for it, and certainly at the time I didn’t rule out the possibility of coming back at some stage,” Kingston said.

“I didn’t think it would be so soon, but once John (Meyler) decided to step down and the opportunity arose, I grabbed it with both hands. I didn’t have to think too hard about it,” he added.

Asked if he intends to win an All-Ireland, Kingston replied: “I’m not here to be competitive. We’re here to win if we can. We’re starved for success. Next year is 15 years since we won the senior and 21 years for the minors.

“If you take the top ten or 11 teams in the country, we are, based on results, a mid-table team, so there’s a massive challenge there and a huge amount of work to be done, I’m very aware of that.

“We want to create a winning culture that puts Cork in a position to compete at the top table on an ongoing basis at all levels.”

Kingston will take the helm for a three year term, replacing Meyler who stepped down following Cork’s quarter-final loss to Kilkenny in July. Kingston explained that a major factor in his decision to return was the “culture that the board is setting” and that a smooth transition for young players be available.

He said: “We must ensure that there’s a seamless transition for a player, whether it’s strength and conditioning, or whether it’s culture. It’s important that, irrespective of who’s in charge of these teams, there’s a seamless succession for these players.”

Asked how he felt to be back, Kingston said: “They say never go back, but they say a lot of things and people don’t do them. There’s a hunger there and a fierce passion for Cork hurling and this group of players and it’s an honour to lead and manage this group.”

Sarsfields man Pat Ryan, who served as a coach during Kingston’s first tenure in charge, will take on the Under 20 manager role on a two year term, replacing Denis Ring.

The appointment of Donal Óg Cusack as manager of the minor hurling team for a one year term was something of a suprise.The three-time All-Ireland winning goalkeeper will be assisted by his former Cork teammates Seán Óg Ó hAilpín and Tom Kenny, with further selectors yet to be appointed.

Current Under 15 manager Noel Furlong will now take on the Under 16 manager role for a two year spell.

An exciting addition to the Cork intercounty set-ups will be Aidan O’Connell who left his role as Munster Rugby’s senior strength and conditioning coach to become the first ever high-performance manager for Cork GAA.

O’Connell said he hopes to use his experience to make sure that “everything is at the standard needed to drive the county forward”.

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