CORK U20 BOSS Denis Ring expects that Kieran Kingston will be returning to fill the county’s senior managerial vacancy for next year and believes he will be taking charge at ‘an exciting time’ for hurling on Leeside.
Ring will be at the helm when Cork face Tipperary in next Saturday evening’s Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U20 hurling final.
He does not view himself as a contender for the senior position and expects Kingston to return given he ‘has unfinished business’ after departing at the close of the 2017 campaign.
Cork have been on the hunt for a new senior hurling boss since John Meyler’s departure at the end of July in the wake of their 2019 championship exit at the hands of Kilkenny.
“I expect Kieran Kingston will be the manager coming back,” said Ring.
“I know Kieran has unfinished business with Cork. He probably left prematurely, I know he had established a lot of good practices and good systems, put things in place, good people in place.
“I know it would be positive from that perspective coming back. I expect Kieran will be the manager next year, I think he is excellent. As senior manager two years ago with us as minors he was very good, very supportive. I’d have a very good relationship with Kieran and Shane his son was our (U21) captain last year.”
The 2017 All-Ireland hurling semi-final was Kieran Kingston’s last game in charge of Cork.
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Ring believes that Kingston will have a far stronger panel at his disposal and has tipped some of the players that will feature in Saturday’s decider at the Gaelic Grounds to make the step up to senior level.
“I think it is exciting times for Cork hurling. I think if it is Kieran he will be inheriting a panel next year that is vastly superior to the panel he inherited four years ago.
“I have no doubt about it. There’s some players from this team will be exceptionally good seniors. There’s four or five of them I have in mind straight away that I can see will walk in.
“Funny enough there may even be more from this year’s team than last year’s team in terms of having the raw material to go on and do it. We have a number of leaders in the team that are absolutely fantastic.
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“From my own perspective it is an absolute pleasure to be involved with Cork, a privilege, there is no pressure with it. This particular bunch are particularly unique. I’ve never come across anything like them before and I’ve been involved a long time. I’m 33 years coaching and managing.
“I’ve never come across a group like it. I really enjoy it to the full extent. This crowd are different, whether they win on Saturday or not.
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“I think Kieran Kingston or whoever next year will reap the rewards of the work of the last few years because there are players coming through who have been seriously tested against the best opposition.”
This Sunday marks the third successive season that the county have featured in an All-Ireland underage hurling final after falling short at minor level in 2017 and U21 last August. Taking on Tipperary is an onerous task.
“There’s a lot of talk about this team in Tipperary,” stated the Cork manager.
“They are the kind of dream team as such from a youth perspective coming forward. They play very attractive hurling. They present a huge challenge from our perspective.”
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