Monday 22 December 2014

Rebel, Rebel, let's go out tonight

Despite a hectic playing schedule, and studying for a degree in strength and conditioning, Dual Cork GAA star Eoin Cadogan is relishing the night run challenge

Cork hurler and footballer Eoin Cadogan outside Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Clare Keogh
Eoin Cadogan in league action for Cork against Eoghan O’Gara of Dublin. Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE
Eoin Cadogan is looking forward to the night run.

It's thought that a GAA football player can cover distances of up to 14k in the course of a 70-minute game. You'd think that a 10k event would be a mere walk in the park for Eoin Cadogan, who is a rising star in not one but two sports. Sure enough, the Cork man is looking forward to April's Samsung Night Run . . . albeit with the tiniest amount of trepidation.

"In our sport we cover distances, but we'd be much more used to running 100 or 200m in quick interval runs," he explains. "Hopefully I'll be able to pace myself, to set a time for myself in advance and base (the night) off that. The advice I'm saying to people ahead of this run is to have a goal in your head, don't go there disorganised. Know where you should or shouldn't be at, and make sure that you train five or six weeks in advance. I keep saying that slow and steady wins the race, which doesn't often work in our sport."

The singular mindset of an athlete is also new to him: "In team sports, you have a lot of determined individuals who have to work alongside others to be successful. This will be a very different environment . . . athletes have to be a bit more selfish and focus on themselves to get everything right. But, on the other hand, it can be easier as you can control everything within yourself."

While Eoin will take to the streets of Cork for the Night Run, his GAA comrade Michael Darragh MacAuley (from the Dublin team) will instead be running through the capital. They're rivals on the pitch, of course . . . what about on the mean streets of Cork and Dublin?

"There is definitely some rivalry in the amount of numbers signed up for each city . . . I think Dublin is slightly ahead," he smiles. "The Cork route is a really nice one. It's not often you get to see Patrick's Street closed off at night, and I think it'll probably be quite a relaxing night for everyone."

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Eoin Cadogan is looking forward to the night run

While running enthusiasts will be gearing up for the 10k, it's safe to assume that dual player Eoin also knows a thing or two about gruelling training sessions. As one of the few GAA stars to be on both the senior inter-county football and hurling team, he juggles the commitments of two leagues. It's a spectacular feat, given that many sportsmen only manage to thrive in one. The big question, of course, is why? He sighs in a way that suggests he's been asked this . . . a lot.

"I think the only people that get worked up and excited about it are people in the media," he shrugs. "At the end of the day, it's an amateur sport and you're not there for a long time. Who knows, I might not get the opportunity to play next year, or the following year, and I'll be sitting above in the stands just watching for long enough. Last year, when I was injured, I got an impression of what it's like when you've retired, looking in from the outside at training and matches. It's a frustrating time. For the sake of a year or two, I don't see why I shouldn't give (hurling and football) a go."

Looking back at his young years in Douglas, it soon becomes clear that the child significantly explains the man.

"When I started off playing, I wasn't brilliant at either football or hurling," he recalls. "I was on the under-12 C team; not because of huge numbers, but because that's where I deserved to be.

"I was a poor footballer at that age, and I was only slightly better at hurling. But I got huge support from my family to keep persisting and then, you start to get on the team a bit more, then you get regular matches, and before you know it you're getting trials.

"I came a long way through persistence and stubbornness to progress the whole way up to the teams," he adds. "In one code, it's a dream come true, but when another team invites you in to play because you're good enough, it's a huge compliment and not one you can turn your nose up at easily."

Eoin Cadogan in his home county

Earlier this month, however, former Wexford hurling manager Liam Griffin questioned the ability of dual stars to combine the codes, citing increased pressure and the demands of competitions.

Says Eoin: "Liam has been hugely successful in his time and, well . . . at the end of the day, managers are selfish about their athletes. If you're in hurling, you'll want your guy to play hurling only. I'm sure his opinion is right from where he's coming from, but I'm lucky that both my managers are very accommodating.

"The thing is, people forget that this is essentially a hobby," he adds. "This is something you're supposed to enjoy. If you're too serious about it, you shouldn't be doing it."

Irish Independent

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