Kieran Kingston admits that the manner of his team's All-Ireland final loss was a hard pill to swallow but insists that a young Rebels outfit can bounce back in the years to come.

A Cork side with an average age of 24 were outclassed by back-to-back winners Limerick at Croke Park on Sunday, losing their first decider since 2013 by 16 points.

"We came up here with a belief," says the Tracton man. "They're young, but young sides have won before in Croke Park.

"But it was a chastening experience for them, no question about that. We came up against a team at another level to us. And they've been at another level to any other team in the country this year, and over the last three or four years.

"Any time you lose an All-Ireland final, it's massive, massive disappointment. Everybody is gutted because it's a huge, huge amount of effort that went into getting us here. But I have to compliment and thank the backroom team and the players.

"Because since we got back together in April, they've worked extremely hard. They worked hard on their own prior to that.

"The last four months or so, trying to implement a new way of playing, they've bought into that and they've worked on that and they've been fantastic. Okay, today, four months wasn't as good as four years in terms of the way a team plays, we saw that (with Limerick).

"But look, these lads have a big future, they're really, really hungry. They want to play for Cork, they want to play for the jersey but today we were just outgunned, out-everything."

Kingston insists that the final defeat will help harden a group that he thinks can end the county's now record wait for Liam MacCarthy.

"I do believe this team will be successful and when they are, it's days like this that will make them stronger. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

"They certainly will come up under no illusions the next time they get here. And there's no guarantee you're going to get here next year or the year after because it's a long road to get to an All-Ireland final anytime.

"That will make them resilient. It'll teach them a lot, in many ways."