CORK hurling manager Kieran Kingston hopes that Saturday night’s eight-point Allianz Hurling League loss to Limerick can be a learning experience for his players.
At the LIT Gaelic Grounds, Cork trailed the Munster, league and All-Ireland champions by ten points at half-time after a poor first-half display but there was a slight improvement in the second half.
With the counties set to clash again at Semple Stadium in the Munster SHC semi-final in just under four weeks, Kingston feels that such exposure to what John Kiely’s side are capable of can prove to be educational.
“Yeah, absolutely,” he said.
“You couldn’t teach that on video or on a training ground, what those lads learned tonight.
“I was proud of them the way they kept going in the second half, they never gave up and we finished the second half 1-12 to 0-13, that was good and we missed a few chances, albeit they had a good number of wides, but we missed another two or three goals we could have got.
“At the end of the day, we’d have taken the second half but, certainly, at half-time we looked like we were dead and buried.”
Cork were missing a number of key players due to injury, while captain Patrick Horgan and Luke Meade, who had played all of the previous three league games, were held in reserve until half-time.
Kingston confirmed that Colm Spillane (knee) and Bill Cooper (Achilles) are set for extended spells on the sidelines but he is optimistic that the rest of the injuries in the camp will clear ahead of next Sunday’s final league game against Galway.
“We’ll assess it during the week but we’ve a couple of ones that are going to be long-term,” he said.
“Colm Spillane, for example, and Bill Cooper, we’re not sure. He was having an MRI today so we’ve a couple of doubtful ones. The rest – Tim O’Mahony, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Seán O’Donoghue, Séamus Harnedy, Eoin Cadogan, Alan Cadogan – they should be back for next weekend.”
Despite the result on Saturday, Cork – with five points after four games – still have a chance of topping the section should they overcome the Tribesmen at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Ultimately, it’s a situation Kingston is satisfied with.
“As I said before the game, we’d have taken where we were at the start of the league,” he said.
“We had to go to Tipp and go to Limerick and play Waterford, last year’s All-Ireland finalists, so we’d have taken it, albeit we’d have liked to have been more competitive tonight.”