Cork hurling talking points: Davy Fitz touted as an option for the Rebels

Éamonn Murphy on the top topics for Cork supporters after their dismal loss to Galway last weekend
Cork hurling talking points: Davy Fitz touted as an option for the Rebels

Cork camogie coach Davy Fitzgerald has been linked with the senior hurling job on Leeside. Picture: INPHO/Jim Coughlan

TIME FOR A NEW VOICE? 

Kieran Kingston's official three-year stint, and his second as Cork manager, is over. 

He was the Rebel bainisteoir for five of the past seven campaigns, having served as a selector/coach with Jimmy Barry-Murphy before that. The Tracton native has given incredible service to Cork hurling, involved in the 2014 and '17 Munster victories and the 2013 and 2021 All-Ireland final appearances.

He boldly shook up his management set-up this season despite reaching last year's All-Ireland, bringing Pat Mulcahy and Noel Furlong in as selectors with the likes of the returning sports psychologist Gary Keegan and strength and conditioning expert Stephen Casey added to the backroom.  Despite these changes, the summer ended on a very flat note, with a defeat to what looked a pretty average Galway outfit on the evidence at Semple Stadium last Saturday. 

Cork were inconsistent across the season, sticking too long with a possession approach based on Mark Coleman as a playmaking number six, and misfired in a few crucial matches, particularly the league final and the championship clash with Clare. 

Still, they'd found a bit of form after a reshuffle and were going for a fourth successive win last weekend. You'd have thought if they were going to be beaten in Thurles it would be because the Tribe were on fire. 

You certainly couldn't say that was the case. Which is why many fans are now looking for change.

Ben O'Connor's name has been mentioned, along with Pat Ryan, Donal Óg Cusack, Noel Furlong, if continuity is a concern. 

And then there's Davy Fitzgerald. That would really be breaking the mould for Cork, going outside the county bounds for a manager, though the Clare native is currently working with the camogie squad as a coach. 

Traditionally, Cork don't appoint managers who aren't Leesiders and John Meyler doesn't count, as he's been on Leeside since the 1980s. Would the Cork County Board be willing to gamble this time? Would Davy Fitz be the right fit, given his preference for sweepers, even if they did?

WHY WERE CORK SO FLAT?

Cheap goals were given up, a host of great chances were wasted and a few refereeing decisions went against Cork last weekend. 

In the last 10 minutes, Daithí Burke's hit on Seamus Harnedy would normally have resulted in a placed ball while Jason Flynn was gifted a very questionable free at the other end. In a one-point loss, those things matter but Cork know they'd only themselves to blame for their exit. 

They needed to replicate the intensity they brought to their two best displays in 2022, the league win over Limerick, however facile it turned out to be, and their rousing, season-saving efforts in beating Waterford at Walsh Park. They got motoring in the second half on Saturday but trailing by five points at the break, Galway kept them at bay with some cracking points at crucial stages. 

Defensively, Cork did pretty all, apart from the errors for the goals. 

They just didn't hurl with the same focus and teamwork that characterised their excellence against the Déise. There were too many passengers up front.

It was always going to be extremely difficult to beat Limerick, especially at Croke Park, but the hurling faithful were gearing up for a trip to Jones Road where the Rebels had nothing to lose. Cork didn't take on Galway with enough urgency and now all that's irrelevant.

WHAT CORK HURLERS WILL BE GONE NEXT SEASON?

Patrick Horgan might be 35 in 2023 but he reminded everyone in the second half at Semple Stadium why he's the championship's top-scorer of all-time. 

Patrick Horgan has given incredible service and showed last Saturday he still has something to offer Cork. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Patrick Horgan has given incredible service and showed last Saturday he still has something to offer Cork. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Seamus Harnedy (32 shortly) was off-colour against Galway but had some immense displays this season, while Damien Cahalane, often the subject of fierce criticism, had a super campaign, and was very solid last Saturday. Conor Lehane, like Cahalane is 31 next year, but his attitude was spot on after being recalled to the squad.

Young guns will be blooded whoever is the boss next year but Cork shouldn't prematurely discard anyone.

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