Colm Bonnar's post-match interview shows how cruel sport can be
Colm Bonnar cut a dazed and confused figure in his post-match interview after Tipperary's loss to Cork.
The job as Tipperary senior hurling manager is one that he has craved for a long time but, unfortunately for him, his first year has been more of a nightmare than a dream.
That was why, in the bowels of Semple Stadium, after a fourth successive Munster championship loss, he was clearly and genuinely distraught about the whole thing.
“We’re in shock," Bonnar said flatly.
"Our hearts are just sunk here. We didn’t see that coming down the tracks. We thought we were building something… I still believe that when a Tipp player puts on a jersey, they should be good enough to compete well but to go down like we did today, we’re shell-shocked," he added.
It goes without saying that, prior to Sunday's thrashing, the Tipperary team hadn't discussed the prospect of a relegation play-off in the instance of Kerry winning the Joe McDonagh Cup - but it will be something they may have to think about down the line.
"At the moment, we haven’t made any plans. The players will need a rest, they’ve put in so much. They’ve given so much. I think it’s important that the general public don’t…they’ve given so much, they’ve trained so hard. We need to back each other up now," he added.
“We can take positives out of a lot of other days.
“We can take positives out of the younger lads that came in and so many in terms of their championship debut and getting a run but, no, we can’t take anything from today and that’s why it’s so hard.”
After a bruising start to the championship, it looked for a while as if Cork were heading down a similar path. They turned it around though and, after the game, a relieved Mark Coleman told journalists about the honest conversations and the on-field changes that have brought them back.
"There has to be (honest conversations.) We knew that we didn't play to our own standards and when you don't do that, you have to ask why. You have to have those conversations because you have to take the learnings from it, ask why and then improve from it.
"It was about about pushing on a bit, pressing a bit faster - simple things like that every team tries to do, we just weren't doing them as welll the first few days."
Cork extend their lead with another score from Mark Coleman pic.twitter.com/glRQJC8PB3
— The GAA (@officialgaa) May 22, 2022
Kieran Kingston was shipping plenty of flak in those early championship weeks but he said his belief in this team never wavered, and he saved special praise for their exceptional wing forward Conor Lehane.
“I wouldn’t have taken this job a couple of years ago when they asked me to if I didn’t believe in this group of players. I’ve massive belief in this group of players, massive belief. And my belief in them has only grown,”
“Conor was exceptional and that’s what he can do. He’s proven that he was right to come back and we were right to ask him back and he was right to agree to come back.
“I’m really, really thrilled for him but we’d put it to him again to do it the next day.”