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UCC's Mark Coleman has won back to back Fitzgibbon Cup titles. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton
UCC's Mark Coleman has won back to back Fitzgibbon Cup titles. Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton

Cork hurling boss Kingston hopes Fitzgibbon Cup form carries to Rebel red 

THE performance of the Cork players in UCC’s Fitzgibbon Cup-winning team was very pleasing, according to Cork boss Kieran Kingston.

Six players who have figured during Cork’s current league campaign, Robert Downey, Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Shane Kingston, Robbie O’Flynn and Niall O’Leary all contributed handsomely to UCC’s 42nd cup win.

“It was very encouraging for us to have the lads doing so well. They played important roles, I thought, in the semi-final and final of that competition, two wins that really had to be earned and went right down to the wire," he told the Echo.

“This is now almost an inter-county competition, the country’s top players are involved in it and the Cork players were certainly to the forefront, very influential in a competition of a very high standard."

Kingston rested the six players for the trip to Westmeath last Sunday, introducing Downey and O’Leary late in that game, but all six are expected to start on Sunday against Limerick, a game that the Cork boss is eagerly looking forward to.

UCC’s Shane Kingston and Shane Reck of IT Carlow. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie
UCC’s Shane Kingston and Shane Reck of IT Carlow. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

“This will be a massive challenge for us, Limerick are the country’s form team at the moment as they showed against Tipperary and Galway and it will be a very tough encounter.

“We will be minus a few players because of injury and Damien (Cahalane) is suspended but it gives us the opportunity to do a bit of experimenting with the panel, a chance to mix it a bit.

The Cork boss, reflecting on the campaign to date, believes it has been a bit of a mixed bag.

“I suppose at the start if we were offered four points from three games, two of them away we’d have taken that.

“We could have beaten Waterford too, lost by just a point after shooting something like 17 wides that day.

“We are conceding far too many fress as well in games, we have to stop giving away silly frees. Work-rate is great but not at the expense of that number of frees in games.

“But we have been delighted with the character shown by the players, coming out on top in two very tight games against Tipp and last Sunday showed that character that we need.

“The game last Sunday was hard to read and the conditions were not good but we did just enough." 

So what’s required against Limerick on Sunday?

“Very simple, a performance for the entire 70 minutes, the type of consistency we are looking for from game to game and within games and to cut down on the number of frees we are conceding.

“It’s a big game for us now and an opportunity to focus on where we are at."