A VISIBLY dejected Kieran Kingston praised his players after they bowed out of the All-Ireland series at the hands of Tipperary.
“Things are very, very raw. I just spoke to the players there.
"It’s a very sad dressing room because we believed in ourselves. We believed we were good enough to win, we came up here to win.
“We lost the toss, Tipperary decided to play with the elements, wind and rain. I thought we were in a good place at half-time but in the third quarter we didn’t push on as much as we could.
"I think we were maybe relying on the elements which were really eased off a lot in the second half.
“That’s not in any way taking from anything but we got caught with two sucker punches. First one to lose that goal and then to come back, to go a point up, I think showed huge character.
"The second goal came late and it was always going to be tough to recover from that. It wasn’t a game with a lot of chances. If you look back at where the Tipp goals originated, I would be disappointed that they were more given away than created.
“I am hugely proud of the effort the lads put in the last two games. We’ve only been together a number of weeks and I think they showed what they’re capable of.
“You must remember as well we’re playing the All-Ireland champions, they’re not going to hand over their crown easily. We knew that coming up here.
"A lot of people said Cork can’t play winter hurling, I think we showed we can play winter hurling. This is the championship and we didn’t care if it was raining. I think we showed we have good character.
"I think this myth around Cork don’t work and Cork are soft, I think we showed that’s not the way we play the game.”
After another year with no All-Ireland title for Cork, Kingston, who has two more years in charge, said they will take time before deciding on plans for 2021.
“It’s not the time to be making those decisions. All I can say I think the team showed and the panel showed what they were capable of.
"We have a lot of young players and were missing a few as well. We lost Deccie Dalton through injury during the game. All I can say is whatever we feel as a group that needs to be done to make us that little bit better, will be done.
“I’m not a fan of moral victories to be honest. They don’t rest well with me.
"It’s 15 years since we won an All-Ireland, heading for 16 now. I think we’ve moved beyond moral victories.
"Yeah there’s a lot of positives. We got to take those but we’ve got to say we’ve raised the bar this year to this level, what do we have to do now to take it another step.
“That’s the challenge now for us as management and players to take it to the next level because I think this group are certainly capable of going there.”