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Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
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Meyler: Despite losing, Cork hurling must continue to look to the future

DESPITE tasting another bitter defeat at Croke Park against Kilkenny, the Rebels need to keep the faith.

That was the message from Cork hurling boss John Meyler after the All-Ireland quarter-final loss, the county’s fifth in a big game on Jones Road in succession since 2013.

“I think we need to go again,” was Meyler’s verdict after the Cats drove through to a showdown with Limerick. “We need to dig deeper again.

“We have the U20s in the Munster final (against Tipp on Tuesday week). We have a lot of young fellows out there, Kingston, Robbie O’Flynn, Tim O’Mahony, Niall O’Leary, Sean O’Donoghue.

“They are all young so from that point of view the future is bright. Coleman, Fitzy. It’s just about getting up here and winning – that is the bloody most important thing.”

Cork lost the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final to Tipp and since Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon and Shane Kingston came into the side they’ve been knocked out by Waterford, Limerick and now Kilkenny.

“That is three years in-a-row; semi-final, semi-final, quarter-final. It’s not a jinx or a hoodoo or anything like that it’s just about getting up here and winning a tight match and that is what is critical.

“Cork hurling will be back again next year – have no doubt about that.”

As for his own future?

“Look, we will go home and sit down. It’s hard, it’s disappointing but you know.”

Meyler accepted everything was set for a big display from Cork, but apart from Patrick Horgan, scorer of a staggering 3-10, and Alan and Eoin Cadogan, very few hurlers hit the heights required across the full 70-odd minutes.

“The pitch was perfect, the day was perfect, slight breeze blowing into the canal end but that was nothing.

“There were no excuses about the pitch or anything like that – it was just that goal just after half time got Kilkenny going and stopped our momentum.”

 Meyler had a special mention got his star man and the absence of an All-Ireland for yet another year.

Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

“Horgan is one of the best hurlers around for the last 10 years. An incredible hurler – it is just disappointing, I am really disappointed for Hoggy but we need fellows around him and that is it.”

Overall there was a sense of huge disappointment.

“I’m disappointed, I thought we got a great start, we really drove into it and got through Kilkenny early on. It was real tit-for-tat in the first half and we went in at half time two points up.

“We wanted to come out and steady the ship but it was the goal that Richie (Hogan) got after half time that just killed that. They then outscored us for 10 or 15 minutes and we just couldn’t get the ball past midfield, past their half-back line and our half-forward line. 

"The substitutions like Tim O’Mahony just started hitting quicker ball into the forward line and he then got back into it with Cads and Hoggy and it is just disappointing.” 

Meyler was delighted with the contribution of some of his starts but felt the side needed more scorers.

“We have always depended on Hoggy and we need to spread that out. We have always said that we needed other guys to take responsibly but look Hoggy came good with 3-10 today and Cadogan came good but we needed more scorers and we didn’t have it.” 

Meyler lamented some early missed opportunities (seven) with some easier efforts slipping by.

“There were wides that Luke (Meade) had one, Lehane had one that they should have put over the bar and then we would have gone four or five points up because at that stage we were absolutely flying early on but it wasn’t on the scoreboard and that’s the problem.”