STRIKING the right balance between the team’s more experienced players and the younger guns that have been successfully introduced has been a major contributory factor in Cork’s success story this season, according to manager Kieran Kingston.
Kingston has introduced Mark Coleman, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Luke Meade, Shane Kingston and Colm Spillane to Munster championship hurling and alongside the likes of Anthony Nash, Damien Cahalane, Stephen McDonnell, Seamus Harnedy and Patrick Horgan, the combination has served Cork well in their run to next Sunday’s final with Clare.
“We cannot expect younger fellows to lead, they’ll follow the more experienced guys and our experienced players have been fantastic against Waterford and Tipperary."
Kingston admitted that it was a risk sending out so many young players against the far more experienced hands of Derek McGrath and Michael Ryan’s outfits but he has been delighted with the way things have gone so far.
“That is why you are in the job, to make decisions that you feel are in the best interests of Cork hurling.
“The younger lads are not trying to complicate it and we don’t complicate it with them. That gives a great balance to the team because they don’t do tactics, they just go out and play it as they see it."
On the tag of favourites being placed around Cork for next Sunday, Kingston is quick to dismiss that idea.
“The only time we have been favourites for anything this year was for relegation. From Division 1A of the league. We are not buying into any of the hype as to where we are or being the finished product.
“This is step by step and in my view and the team’s view, we have not earned the right to go beyond that in our thinking.
“Clare will be much happier playing us rather than Tipperary or Waterford and they will be favourites in our camp.’’
Kingston revealed that Cork have a clean bill of health outside of hamstring victim Conor O’Sullivan for the big game.
Conor Lehane and Bill Cooper, injury doubts last week, will both be available for selection in a team that is likely to remain unchanged for the third game in a row.