Saturday 24 March 2018

Break won't have done us any harm – Horgan

Noel Horgan

PATRICK Horgan made his championship debut as a substitute against Tipperary in 2008, and he has been involved in three more encounters with the Premier County men since then. He has been on the winning side just once in 2010, but Cork didn't go on to lift the Munster title that year, whereas Tipp came through the backdoor to garner All-Ireland glory.

The prolific Rebel marksman – who has accumulated 2-41, 1-10 from play, in four championship outings this season – is quietly confident, however, that Cork have what it takes to put Tipp to the sword in Croke Park next Sunday, although he says he'll be surprised if there's more than a puck of a ball in at the finish.

"Every time Tipp beat us since I broke into the team, it was only by a point or two, and I expect it will be another very close game on Sunday. I'd be very hopeful we can come out on the right side of it, because, from the first game against Waterford, we have done nothing but progress, which is exactly what we wanted to do to get to where we are now."

Horgan doesn't go along with the general view that Cork's display in the drawn match against Waterford was well below par, even if they were nine points behind at one stage.

"I suppose when you are that far behind you can count yourself lucky to get a draw out of it, but I thought we played really well for the last 25 minutes. We got off to a slow start, that's all it was, and we knew if we settled in quickly in the replay, we would be in with a great chance.

"As I've said, we have improved in every game since then, and it was a big boost to the team to beat Limerick in the Munster final and win a bit of silverware. We enjoyed the night for what it was, but we have forgotten about winning Munster at this stage, because we want to push on now and win the big one."

Horgan feels that Cork are on a roll at the moment, and he is adamant that they are a stronger team than last year.

"We were very happy to take the Munster final route to the All-Ireland series and we don't regard the break since we beat Limerick as being any sort of a problem. On the contrary, I think we needed that to get fellas to prepare themselves and get any little niggles out of the way.

"I can't see how it will affect us, because the A versus B games in training have been of a very high intensity, and I don't think we needed anything other than that to keep us sharp. I think the big difference from last year is that fellas have just strengthened themselves physically and become fitter.

"It has been drilled into us by the management that anytime you come to training you have to go home a better player, and that exactly what's happening," he said

Horgan feels that the newcomers to the team have been tremendous assets as well.

"The dual players Aidan Walsh and Damien Cahalane are two big strong men and they have been a big help to us, while obviously the younger players like Alan Cadogan who have joined the panel this year have also made a difference.

"It's great to have Paudie O'Sullivan back with us again of course after being out for over a year. He has suffered setback after setback, and there's noone outside of the team who appreciates how much he's after putting in to get back.

"He has been showing all his flicks and tricks in training, and I was delighted he got a goal after he came on in the Munster final, because he really deserved that after all he has been through," remarked the Glen Rovers clubman, who is very much in pole position to collect a second consecutive All Star award this year.