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'Cork hurling needed to win and this group needed to win' - relief for Rebels

Cork boss Kieran Kingston was relieved to see his side triumph over Clare.

Cork players celebrate their victory.
Cork players celebrate their victory.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

KIERAN KINGSTON CUT  a relieved figure after seeing his Cork team survive a late Clare charge in today’s All-Ireland hurling qualifier.

Cork hung on with 13 men before winning out 3-19 to 1-23 but they were ahead by six points entering injury-time and needed a brilliant late stop by goalkeeper Patrick Collins to prolong their championship involvement.

Kingston hailed his players after securing the type of win he felt his team needed.

“The overriding emotion is relief because that game ebbed and flowed. We weren’t sure how our guys were going to react, as we’d three weeks off. Was that going to be a good thing? With the rest we’d be fresh. Clare had momentum. There was a lot of uncertainty coming into it from our point of view. We were apprehensive as to how that would work out.

“Fierce proud in the way the lads reacted and the character they showed for a very young team. Clare coming at us in waves, that was a real test of our character and I thought the lads reacted really well to that. The bench were really good even though they were young. We didn’t have a lot of experience on the field but it was great to see them finishing the game.

“Even still with that and 13 players on the pitch, we still needed a super save to get us out of there. I haven’t seen it (the Collins save) back yet. For us the win is the key thing. We needed that win. I think Cork hurling needed to win and this group needed to win. We’ll enjoy it, we’ll park it. We’ll recover tomorrow and then we got to focus on what will be another huge game for us next weekend.”

kieran-kingston-at-the-final-whistle Kieran Kingston at the final whistle. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Cork’s performance was a mixed bag but their goalscoring touch proved critical in settling this encounter in their favour. Jack O’Connor and Shane Kingston struck to provide a first-half cushion, and then substitute Shane Barrett fired home the crucial third goal late on.

It’s been part of a trend Cork have focused on all year in their attacking play.

“We were successful in doing a fair bit of that at the start of the league,” admitted Kingston.

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“We went away a little bit from it toward the latter end of the league. But today we tried to get back at it. While you’re evolving in that scenario, you will fall between two stools at times. That’s the evolution of the group and I think we’re trying to work on it. 

“Seamie (Harnedy) had a point that he probably would have popped and a point that was needed. But the goal chance was there and it wasn’t a 50-50 goal chance, it was a 70-30 goal chance because Shane (Barrett) was gone inside. That’s something we really encourage that we should be giving.”

Kingston confirmed that Damien Cahalane will miss Cork’s All-Ireland quarter-final next weekend due to appendicitis, while Eoin Cadogan (groin injury) will be ’50-50′ for the game against Tipperary or Dublin.

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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