ALL around him there was bedlam in Thurles, but Kieran Kingston was calm and measured as he reflected on his best day as Cork boss, defeating hot favourites Tipp on their home turf.
He had just witnessed his players produce a performance that maybe he could only have dreamt of and he was so proud of them.
“We went in as the underdogs but it is what it is. We were favourites for relegation, that kind of thing and it’s hard to keep that out of the camp, you do your best to keep it out. I said all year that we would prepare as best we could, to try and put the 15 best players available on the field and to put in a performance that reflects what you’d expect from a player wearing red.
“Sometimes it takes a while to develop that type of culture in a team and don’t get me wrong, one game, that is what it is and we are happy with that but it’s no more than that.’’
The selectors' decision to give youth its fling here was certainly justified to a considerable extent.
“We picked players on form who delivered for us during the Munster League, the National League and have shown form in the games we played. We tried to be fair, I don’t think that age should come into it but the fact that three of them were 19 and one was 20 but that goes with the territory.
“We asked for a performance and we are certainly delighted with how the lads responded and in particular how they executed it because once they go over the white line they are on their own."
The collective return from all the players on duty was something that he was thrilled with.
"The team worked very, very hard, individually and as a group in defence and attack. That’s all you can ask for and we said going out to just give it your all, give the best performance that you can and if it’s good enough, it’s good enough and we can look at each other afterwards and if it’s not you have to accept it."
Conor Lehane was the day’s free-taker and the Cork boss stressed the importance of that role.
“Any team needs to have two or three reliable free-takers, we have seen that, all the best teams swap free-takers and you have to have that, more than one at this level of hurling because if your taker is injured after 10 minutes, suddenly you have no free-taker."