Kieran Kingston: ‘It was like trying to stop the tide with a bucket’

Cork manager says there was not a lot they could do to stop ‘exceptional’ Limerick

"It was like trying to stop the tide with a bucket," said Cork manager Kieran Kingston, wrapping a neat nutshell around what Cork had just been through. And, really, what was there to add after that? This was Limerick's command performance. Cork were on stage but only just about visible, like a piece of set decoration.

“Not a lot you could do,” Kingston said afterwards. “No matter what you tried - go short or go long – I think they were just at another level to Cork today. We’ve got to be honest and say that.

"I think we saw that during the year. We saw it in the second half against Tipperary, when the pressure was on them, they can do that and they did it right through the game today.

“When we got the goal, they reacted very well. They’re an exceptional team - there’s no team would win what they have in the last four years, five years, if they weren’t an exceptional team. It’s not possible.


"The media were raving about Dublin footballers when they won four in a row and Limerick were a puck of a ball, or a disputed 65, from four in a row, three Munsters and two national leagues. We have to acknowledge that. They're a fantastic team, no question about it – really well managed, a humble group, and I said it before, the way they conduct themselves after a win off the field is as good as they do on the field.

“They play it on the edge. They’re physical, they’re huge men. They’re really good hurlers, they’re really well-coached, and they’re a humble bunch as well, after meeting them outside. There’s great credit due to them, their families and their management team.

“There comes a time when you have to take your hat off and say, ‘well done, we were beaten by a much better team.’ That’s life, but it’s not nice.”

What’s the hardest thing about playing against them?

“Physicality. I’m not saying that they’re over the edge, I’m just saying every 50-50 tackle is a 50-50 tackle, and they’re really strong in the tackle. I don’t have the stats – I’ve nothing yet, I didn’t even change my shoes – but I think we were turned over, looking at it, a significant number of times in all areas of the pitch.

“When we looked to be in the ascendancy or on the offensive, and then suddenly the ball is going over the bar the other side. That must have happened numerous, numerous times.”

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin is a sports writer with The Irish Times