CORK BOSS JOHN Meyler is not expecting any players to bring their inter-county careers to a close this winter and is confident he will have a full squad at his disposal when he comes to plot their campaign for the 2019 season.

The aftermath of the semi-final loss to Limerick has been ‘extremely difficult’ and ‘challenging’ for the Cork manager but he is ‘thrilled and delighted’ by the progress of the U21 team to an All-Ireland final and hopes that they will boost their senior options for next year.

“I would expect everyone to be back at the table. (Anthony) Nash is 33, Hoggy (Patrick Horgan) is going 30, and Eoin Cadogan 31. There’s still legs in those guys. It’s just a matter of how we manage them, and I think the National hurling league next year is going to be critically important for blooding players, for developing players for the Munster championship campaign, because that is going to be a pressure cooker of competitiveness. The intensity is going to be incredible.

“I’m absolutely thrilled and delighted (with the U21 side). I’m 100% behind them. In the final against Tipperary in two weeks’ time. And they’re, I suppose the springboard of what’s coming, and hopefully they can win the All-Ireland, and push Cork on in the next few years to be winning senior and U21 All-Irelands.”

It was reported last week in the Irish Examiner that 2017 Munster winning captain Stephen McDonnell is in the frame to return next year after opting out this season. “We’ll see,” replied Meyler when queried about the availability of the Glen Rovers man.

He is excited about the pool of talent available in the county but is mindful of the high expectations.

Billy Hennessy in action for Cork against Wexford in the All-Ireland U21 hurling semi-final.

Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

“The U17s won the All-Ireland last year in 2017, they won that. We were in the U21 (Munster) final last year against (a) Limerick team – Cian Lynch, Kyle Hayes, Gillane all those guys.

“This year’s Cork U21 team, they’re nearly all in the age-group, Coleman, Kingston, all of those, so they’ve shown the signs of real real benefit here, and they now will be the foundation of the Cork hurling team over the next ten years.

“So it’s taken time, but it’s slowly coming to fruition. It needs smarter work, it needs hard work, it needs more detailed work. It doesn’t just happen. The underage is coming. The U21 is coming.

“We strengthened the squad this year, in the way that we blooded four or five players again. It will probably take another year or two years to really get those guys up to real speed again. So that should bode well for us and give us more impetus again.

“I just think we’re a small bit short at the senior level. The fact this year that Tipperary and Waterford didn’t come out of it. They’re going to have two new managers next year who are really going to have to make their mark again. Next year’s Munster championship is going to be incredibly competitive.

“Every county’s goal is to win the All-Ireland. If you don’t win the All-Ireland, then it has been a failure. That’s how people perceive it to be today. We’re no different to any other county.”

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John Meyler with Limerick boss John Kiely after their All-Ireland semi-final tie.

Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Two counties still hold aspirations of lifting the Liam MacCarthy Cup in 2018, next Sunday is their chance to grasp silverware. In a tight call, Meyler finds himself coming down narrowly on the side of Limerick.

“Looking at Galway, the two games against Kilkenny, the two games against Clare, I don’t think they’ve been firing. McInerney was a loss the last day, they went into a lead against Clare on both occasions and then Clare clawed it back.

“Then Clare had the chance, Shanagher really had a chance. He was unfortunate to hit the post. Kelly and the last ball there, it just didn’t fall for them. I think Galway have been doing enough to just get over the line.

“Limerick in the three games, the League game against Galway, the matches against Cork and Kilkenny, they’ve shown a consistency in those three games just to get over the line so I’d give it to them by about a point on Sunday.”

Cork hurling boss John Meyler.

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Meyler was today promoting the Wild Atlantic Way Cycle Sportif, which takes place from 8-26 September.

“The cycling is for everybody. It’s for the beginner, it’s for the cyclist, it’s for the triathlete, it’s for the person who wants to do a stage, 120k or something like that.

“Really what you get is incredible scenery, incredible food, really well organised by the Wild Atlantic Way Sportif.

“I do a lot of cycling now. It’s good for the head, it’s good for fitness, it’s good for social. It’s great.”

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