Horgan – we don't mind who we face in September showdown
HIS 66th minute goal ultimately tilted the enthralling encounter in Cork's favour, but Patrick Horgan admitted afterwards it would take a while for all that happened in Croke Park last Sunday to fully sink in.
That Cork would be contesting an All-Ireland final next month was something, which the ace Rebel attacker was also struggling to absorb, although it was obvious he was experiencing a very special feeling, one that capped any he had known as an inter-county hurler before.
"It's actually hard to believe we are through to an All-Ireland final, and we are absolutely delighted. Now that we are there, we are going to enjoy the four weeks leading up to it, and we will watch the other semi-final between Clare and Limerick next weekend and see what happens. To be honest, I don't mind who comes through from that, but we will be ready to give it our best shot regardless, because we might never get a chance like this again."
While Horgan's goal was unquestionably the game-breaker, he said that the manner in which Cork responded to the Dublin goal shortly before half-time was equally important on the day.
"After Dublin got the goal, we needed to show we weren't going to drop our heads, and once we did that, we knew, and it was pointed out at half time, we were ready to sustain our challenge all the way to the finish. It was a ding-dong battle, but our backs were solid all through, while we put most of our chances away when they came, and thankfully we drove on to get the scores that carried us over the line near the end."
Horgan accepted that the sending off of Ryan O'Dwyer militated against Dublin prospects during the last 20 minutes, but he felt that the referee made the correct call in not flashing a red-card to Liam Rushe eight minutes later.
"If you are down to 14 men, it's very hard to cope in the modern game, it's so physical and your fitness is needed so much, and it probably took a toll on Dublin towards the end. I didn't see the incident that led to the second yellow card, but I was involved in the incident with Liam Rushe, and I didn't think he merited a red card. After he cut across me, my hand was kinda hooked around him, and I couldn't get it free.
"He was swinging back trying to make a bit of space for himself, and I got a small tap on the hand from his hurley, but there was no real intent there, and it would have been harsh if he had been sent off."
Obviously pleased with his own contribution of 1-7, Horgan was clearly irked at the same time that there has been so much made about Cork's failure to find the net more often in recent games.
"I don't what all the fuss is about not scoring goals, I mean there hasn't been many scored against us in the championship this year, and that's just the way it is in big games like this. We got a goal today, Dublin got one as well, but we got more points than them, and that was they key to our win. We weren't expected to get so far this year, but we believed we were there with about eight other teams capable of doing it.
"We took it game by game, but we are playing well and getting the breaks now, and hopefully it will work out for us again in the final."