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Monday, March 27, 2023

Shane Kingston on why competition for places is driving Rebels

BY the time Cork take to the field to play Wexford in Sunday’s Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A game, they may have a clear idea as to what a win would do.

If Clare lose to Galway in their game at 1.45pm, it would mean that a Cork victory in the 3.45pm throw-in would secure a semi-final spot. Equally, though, a Clare win in Cusack Park would mean that Cork beating Wexford may not be enough if they were to lose in Ennis the following week.

Shane Kingston isn’t too concerned about permutations though, and nor is anyone else in the Cork camp.

“To be honest, we haven’t even discussed any of the games further down the line,” he says.

“We’re just looking at each game as it comes – we were focusing on the Westmeath match and then the gym session, then training last week, back to the clubs for the league and then Wexford.

You can’t be looking too far beyond anything.”

Cork have managed to beat Limerick, Galway and Westmeath while rotating heavily and Kingston feels that the competition for places that has been generated is a positive for all concerned.

“There are 28 fellas after starting,” he says, “and that’s outside some of the experienced guys who have knocks and who haven’t played at all.

“That’s a lot of players and it’s a big headache for the management but that’s what any management wants, they want as many players as possible playing well and putting their hands up.

“I’d imagine they won’t be complaining about it too much!”

Twenty-five-year-old Kingston, who works in sales for RedFM, missed the Limerick match after suffering a hamstring injury in the Co-op SuperStores Munster Hurling League game against Kerry at the beginning of January, but he was brought back in for the trip to Salthill to face Galway. He scored six points that day and 1-7 against Westmeath but most importantly he was glad to be back in action.

“You’d always be worried when you’re getting injured!” he laughs. “I hadn’t pulled too many muscles in the past so would be a little bit concerned but then I got the scan and it wasn’t too bad.

“I was only out for about three weeks but, when you’re injured, you want to get back as soon as you can. Nobody plays to be sitting on the sideline or to be doing rehab.

“I wasn’t really focusing on what other fellas were doing or how they were playing, I was just concentrating on getting myself back on the pitch.”

While Wexford are currently level on two points with Galway, their win over Westmeath means that they will avoid the relegation play-off unless the Lake County were to secure an unlikely victory over Limerick on Sunday or Galway next weekend.

Cork's Conor Cahalane looks to evade Conor Devitt of Wexford during last year's clash between the counties at Chadwicks Wexford Park.  Picture: Inpho/Ken Sutton
Cork’s Conor Cahalane looks to evade Conor Devitt of Wexford during last year’s clash between the counties at Chadwicks Wexford Park. Picture: Inpho/Ken Sutton

However, the Model County are bruised after conceding six goals against Clare last time out. Cork have eight goals in their three games, a figure which is good but which has room for improvement.


Kingston found the net early against Westmeath and Shane Barrett also raised a green flag but other chances were squandered. Manager Pat Ryan has stressed the need for goals and the Douglas man expects that it’s an area that will continue to be targeted.

“You could say that we’ve been getting more goals over the last two or three years than in the seasons previous to that,” he says.

“I suppose it’s about making yourself aware of it and the team aware of it – we’d have a few fellas who are fairly fast so it’s about isolating that and using it to our advantage, going for the jugular as opposed to taking the easy period, really.”

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