Cork hurling is facing a big year, as Kieran Kingston takes charge. The Rebels made steady progress throughout the first three years of Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s tenure, as the Rebel’s reached three All-Ireland semi-finals in a row, making one final and a Munster title to boot. However, they were unable to push on in 2015, and bowed out of the championship in July to a strong Galway outfit.
JBM has left the team in good shape, with a young core of the side more than capable of delivering silverware in the coming years.
Kingston is now at the helm, and he announced his 33 man training panel earlier today.
Frank Flannery, who is one of Kingston’s selectors for the team, has stated that he sees no reason why the Rebels cannot capture Liam McCarthy by 2017.
He told the Irish Sun that “My gut feeling is that the potential is there to win an All-Ireland with the right things in place. It’s up to the players to buy into it then but there is definitely the potential to win an All-Ireland in the next two years, please God.”
Flannery, who guided Oulart The Ballagh to the Wexford Championship this season, has nothing but good things to say about the new manager.
“I’ve met Kieran and I’m very enthusiastic about what he’s bringing to it. He’s very experienced and he’s extremely driven. He knows exactly what he wants and in terms of my coaching role he’ll be quite demanding.”
However, with the likes of Kilkenny far ahead of the chasing pack, they will have to keep the heads down and work hard.
“It’s going to take a bit of patience. There was a saying before that Cork hurlers were like mushrooms [that they can spring up overnight] but that day is gone now.
“We have to be very honest. We’re back in the pack and we have to accept we’re probably seeded three or four in Munster at the moment. But the potential is there to build it fairly quick.”
Cork have been given perhaps the toughest possible draw in Munster, playing Tipperary in Thurles in the opening round, and then Limerick away in the Gaelic Grounds should they win.