'The amount of work that fellas have put in for the last seven weeks was unbelievable' - Cork's Eoin Cadogan
EOIN CADOGAN is at a loss to explain why Cork footballers flirted with disaster in Dungarvan on Saturday night.
The 30-year-old Leesider, who is coming back from a long-term Achilles problem, was watching from the stand in Fraher Field as his colleagues laboured to a one-point victory over supposed Division 4 no-hopers Waterford.
But he is adamant that this stuttering Munster SFC opener did not reflect Cork's voracious work ethic on the training ground over the past two months.
"The amount of work that fellas have put in for the last seven weeks - and I’m not saying it for the sake of it - was unbelievable," Cadogan stressed, speaking today at a Croke Park launch to mark eir's ongoing sponsorship of the All-Ireland SFC.
"They have put in a massive shift and Saturday night’s performance didn’t reflect the amount of work that has been put in.
"For whatever reason that is, I can’t put my finger on it," he added, "but what I do know is that our objective was to be in a Munster semi-final and we are there."
Cadogan will be available for selection when Cork face Tipperary in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday week, seeking revenge for last summer's Premier ambush while also hoping to banish the bad vibes of their escape to victory over the Deise.
Reflecting on that fraught encounter, the Douglas clubman said: "Waterford went ahead. The way Gaelic football has gone, if you get well-conditioned guys and set them up quite defensively, it is going to be very hard to break them down.
They were very well-structured and well-drilled. Their game plan was defensive but it was working for them well. It just took us a bit longer to break them down and, when we did start to break them down very narrowly at the end, it was our older guys who got us over the line. Donncha O’Connor, Alan O’Connor, James Loughrey, Mark Collins, Paul Kerrigan - they were the guys who came to the forefront."
Cadogan went on to argue that, even when Cork footballers have been going well in the past, they have always struggled to win over their detractors in the media and elsewhere.
"Opinions are opinions. We can’t control that," he reasoned. "I have said this numerous times, when Cork were going well, winning National League titles, the All-Ireland in 2010, it was never good enough. 'Aw, ye should have won more, ye should have won this and that.'
"Now it hasn’t changed - the perception of Cork hasn’t changed, rightly or wrongly. Maybe that’s our fault as players.
"The dynamic of the team that was there from 2007 to 2012 has completely changed and nobody can tell me any different. We have a lot younger guys and, whilst they have won underage, that is fine but senior is a total different ball game.
"It is to try and get ourselves up there, not even to compete with the top four, but just to get wins under our belts and confidence is a big thing.”
Asked if confidence is an issue, Cadogan maintained: “Confidence wasn’t an issue going into Saturday night because fellas knew that the work was done.
"But then, as I said, the work done didn’t match our performance on the night and that is the most frustrating thing as a player."
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