Cork hurling had a dream weekend, as they defeated Galway in the league promotion/relegation play-off in Salthill, ensuring that they will play in Division 1A for 2017.
The Rebels lost all five games up to that point, including heavy defeats away to Tipperary and Dublin.
Manager Kieran Kingston has wielded the axe this evening however, as the build-up to championship begins.
Pa Cronin, Shane O’Neill, Paudie O’Sullivan, Cian McCarthy and Stephen Moylan have all been cut from the panel.
The Irish Examiner is reporting that O’Sullivan and McCarthy have opted out of remaining with the panel for the year.
Cronin and O’Neill captained the side in 2014 and 2011 respectively.
This is a major statement from Kingston, who has shown so far in his tenure that he is prepared to pick players based on form, rather than reputation. This was evident when he dropped last year’s captain Anthony Nash for the games against Kilkenny and Tipp.
The Rebels now look ahead to their championship opener against the Premier in Thurles.
While last Sunday’s victory over Galway lifted the clouds that were surrounding the Lee-siders, there is still a lot of work to be done. They have been given a notoriously difficult draw in Munster. Should they overcome Tipp in Semple Stadium, they will have to travel to take on Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds.
It is now 11 years since Cork last won the All-Ireland, and it is clear from today’s news that Kingston believes that youth is the way forward.