Across the last two years, Cork hurling has been an exercise in despair, with each bad result met by the curiously optimistic hope that this represented rock bottom; that things couldn't get any worse.
2017, however, doused the county with relief: a storming upset of Tipp prefaced a fabulous Munster final day which ended in the Cork minors and seniors celebrating provincial success together on the Semple field. Equally successful was the explosion of new talent: Shane Kingston and Mark Coleman chief among them.
It was a year that yielded Cork success and also portended further great days in the couple of years to come. This made Kieran Kingston's decision to stand down from his post as manager all the more surprising. Cork chairman Ger Lane lamented the news in a statement on the Cork website, and today Kingston has broken his silence and clarified his decision to step away.
Kingston told Michael Moynihan of the Irish Examiner that it was simply a case of his not having enough time to assign to the Cork job.
For the foreseeable future, I’m unable to combine my work and family commitments with the sheer amount of time needed for inter-county management at the top level. I’m self-employed and I travel with my work, which thankfully is very busy at the moment. This impacts on the time available for intercounty duties.
As many inter-county managers have pointed out recently, only those involved at this level are aware of the sheer level of time commitment involved. To be honest, you need to walk a mile in a manager’s shoes to get some idea of the job.
It’s a professional commitment in all but name, and it amounts to a second full-time job for any manager who has ambitions not just to participate, but to succeed at the highest level.
The hunt has begun for Kingston's replacement, with John Meyler the 11/8 favourite. Diarmuid O'Sullivan is the next favourite, priced at about 4/1.
Kingston's full interview is well worth a read over on the Examiner .
See Also: Jamie Barron's Club Schedule Since All-Ireland Final Has Been Insane And Unusual