Kingston's courage helped Douglas over the line in historic triumph

The Cork star came off the bench in the 2015 county minor final to help turn the game just as he did in the recent All-Ireland semi-final
Kingston's courage helped Douglas over the line in historic triumph

Douglas' Shane Kingston (21) after defeating Sarsfields in the 2015 Carrigaline Court Rebel Og Premier 1 MHC final at Pairc Ui Rinn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare.

IT’S said everyone has 15-minutes of fame at some stage in their lives.

Shane Kingston’s game-changing introduction from the bench in the All-Ireland semi-final victory over Kilkenny prompted the usual ‘super sub’ line.

But, it wasn’t the first time the gifted Cork hurler altered the course of a match in which he didn’t start.

Six years ago, Kingston defied medical logic to help his club Douglas capture an historic first premier county minor title by defeating Sarsfields in the final.

He may have only played 15 minutes and touched the ball just three times, but Kingston’s 1-2 was critical in his side’s 3-12 to 0-13 triumph.

The game was played in September, but a freak injury in a challenge game for Cork minors against Clare in June resulted in a broken leg, tibia and fibia, as well as ankle ligament damage.

“I remember getting a text from Shane that evening when he was in hospital,” said Douglas manager Ray Keating.

“I was on the phone to him the following day and he was in shock because this was his first major injury.

“Shane was also captain of Cork which made it worse again and it was a huge blow to him, in fairness.

“We were playing a non-exam game out in Blarney at the time and we got the players in to make the point that Shane was gone for the rest of the year.

“It was something we had to deal with and the chances of him coming back were incredibly slim.

“By the time championship came along the players knew Shane wouldn’t be there.

“Sometimes it can be a bit harder, when you lose a key player a couple of weeks before championship.

“This was about two months, so we had time to process it and drive on without Shane.” 

Douglas progressed against Na Piarsaigh, Killeagh and Blackrock to reach the final.

The weather had a big part to play and gave Kingston a slice of luck for a change.

“The game was originally fixed for September 5 and he wasn’t going to play that day.

“But, the heavens opened and the game was switched from Pairc Ui Rinn to Mallow before it was eventually postponed and put back a week.

“Shane told us then that he thought he might able to play some part.

“Our thinking was that it was a decision for his parents and we still didn’t believe it was going to happen.

“Shane didn’t train with us at all and then he said he could play 15 minutes after talking about it with his parents.

“He didn’t warm up with the team, so Sars still wouldn’t have known he was a possibility to come on.

“We were definitely going to bring him on because Shane was the best player in the county at that age.

“Just after half-time, he started to warm-up down in the bottom corner, somewhat un-noticed.

“His introduction gave everyone a lift because it was a close game throughout and his first touch resulted in a point from a difficult angle.

“Shane’s second ended with a typical goal, racing through and finishing with a cracking low shot to the corner of the net.

“The roar which greeted the goal was something I had never heard before at an under-age game.

“The rehab work he put in was phenomenal and that’s what gave him a chance.

“Even with the leg in plaster, Shane was still pucking every day.

“And you could see that by the two points he scored from difficult angles.

“Shane also did a lot of upper body work, core work, and when the cast came off, he was really diligent in building up the strength in the leg again because he would have lost some muscle mass there.

“Shane was exhausted after his 15 minutes, unable to catch his breath because he hadn’t trained.

“It summed up Shane in how hard he worked, how much he cared and showed his talents, coming back and not missing a step.” 

Sars had sent a best-wishes card to Kingston, when he broke his leg, a class act.

Should he start on Sunday?

“I definitely would and in the half-forward line,” Keating concluded.

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