A LOT of things have happened hurling-wise in the last week, especially in the county of Cork.
Huge disappointment at being knocked out of the championship at the quarter-final stage. A lot of people giving their opinions as to what happened, asking serious questions and maybe not so serious questions. Some coming up with answers that you could take seriously.
And some do not have a clue about what they are talking about!
That is human nature I suppose. Opinions, everyone has one, good and bad. But sometimes people can give a wrong impression on their opinions, and sometimes people look at it differently, but it can be taken up wrongly.
I think that is the situation in Cork now, and that would be the same in any other county that is knocked out of the championship, but hold on, it’s Cork we are talking about here.
Sometimes the Cork public make out they have a divine right and an entitlement to be winning All-Irelands the same as before.
That day is long gone; when you think the colour of a jersey can frighten a team into submission.
Maybe it is time for the Cork public to get real in their thinking. Times have moved on and other counties have caught up.
I suppose it is hard to blame Cork people for thinking that way, after all, they are the most successful GAA county in the country with all the All-Ireland titles that they have won over the years in hurling and football at all grades from minor up. So that is why it is hard to accept that your team is regularly getting knocked of the championship for the last number of years.
A lot of All-Irelands were won by Cork, not because they had great managers or great mentors, but because they had the best players, in most of them, and real leaders who stood up when questions were asked. In my time watching Cork they always produced these types of players.
Players who would stand toe to toe with anybody and taking charge on the field when they needed to. They also took charge off the field when the need arose.
Have Cork got this type of player coming through now? In my opinion, they do not.
Are Cork producing the right type of player from underage to senior? I believe not.
A lot of players I know who have made it, never went through the Academy and still turned out to be top-class players, and this has been proven time after time. Do Cork look outside of these academies for talent? I think Cork need to look deeper.
When you lose, everybody is wrong. From my experience, there is a massive difference between a one-point win and a one-point loss. That’s what is happening in Cork right now. I think you get a lot of answers from people now as to what should have been done last Saturday.
They have all the answers now. Not too many of these same people had the answers on Friday night as to how Cork could win this game! That was left to a few people.
The man that it was mostly left to was Kieran Kingston. Kieran has been a fantastic servant to Cork, both as player and coach and now manager.
He has given his all for the cause of Cork. He has been criticised, rightly and wrongly at times.
Criticism should never ever be personal. It should be about you as a hurling man and not about anything else. Kieran is at the mercy of his players, the same as any other manager in the country, and believe me, I have been in that situation.
In my opinion, Kieran was let down last Saturday and he was let down by the players on the field. I’d say if you questioned any of them right now, I think they would own up to that.
This is not the first time that they have let their manager down, but it was especially clear last Saturday, against a poor Galway side on the day.
And I’m sure Henry Shefflin would admit to that as well. When the game was there for them, they needed to take it and grab it with both hands.
Kieran has been around now for a while with this Cork team and is still as enthusiastic as ever. You often wonder why, especially when results go wrong.
Has he got the right mix in his management team? Does he still feel that he can bring Cork forward and get that All-Ireland that they so badly need?
I’m sure right now he still believes that he can do that. Do the players believe in him? He definitely seems to believe in them.
He has never let them down in any way, but as I said before, I cannot say the same for them.
Kieran Kingston deserves respect for the work he has put into this team over the last number of years.
He needs to freshen up his management team again. And also change their method of play.
Most of all, he needs players that want it more than a lot of his present players do.