CORK'S defeat to Galway meant the end of Kieran Kingston’s term as manager, but he didn’t wish to make any public pronouncements as to what the future might hold.
Kingston, previously in charge in 2016 and 2017, returned for a three-year stint at the end of 2019. In the wake of Saturday’s game, though, there had not been time to process things.
“I’ve just come off the pitch and I haven’t even washed my hands yet,” he said.
“I went to the Galway dressing-room and spoke to our own backroom team, so I haven’t thought of anything.
“Our focus was Antrim, then it was Galway - there was no thought of anything else. I don’t want any talk or speculation about me to take away from Galway’s win or from the character our group showed in the second half, and which I’m really proud of.”
Disappointingly for Cork, uncharacteristic sloppiness in the first half, at both ends of the field, cost them as they went in trailing at half-time by five points, 2-6 to 0-7.
Though they were better in the second period, Galway did enough to keep themselves in front. Nevertheless, Kingston was proud of the character shown by his team in never letting the game get away from them.
"We didn’t help ourselves in the first half,” he said.
“Credit to the lads, they created the chances but we weren’t creating them. On the other side, we got hit with a sucker punch with a goal in the opening seconds and another one later, but we were really in the game at half-time; though we were playing into the breeze we were only five points down.
“I thought the lads showed real character in the second half, they never threw the towel in, I’m as proud of them for reacting that way to the first half because they could have thrown the towel in after conceding soft scores and missing scores, but they didn’t.
“This is not where we want to be. We came here and we knew we had a really good chance of making an All-Ireland semi-final – that was our target but, as I said, there were times in the first half when we didn’t help ourselves.
“I think we were good in the second half and I’m really proud they didn’t throw in the total and they at least deserved a draw out of the game.”
Shane Kingston scored Cork’s only goal in the 39th minute but on another day a trio of good opportunities for green flags – falling to Alan Connolly, Robbie O’Flynn and Darragh Fitzgibbon – would have yielded more.
As it was, all three were kept out by Galway goalkeeper Éanna Murphy, but Kieran Kingston wasn’t attaching any blame to the decision-making process involved.
“If you’re through, you have to go for those chances, and we’d never discourage the lads from that,” he said.
“They’re not errors if you’re doing the right thing – missing a goal, we never see that as a mistake if you’re doing the right thing and the shot is the right thing.
“A miss is a miss but I’d never criticise them for having a go.”