Monday 19 March 2018

No sledging in hurling, insists Cork ace Pat Horgan

Patrick Horgan of Cork, Kilkenny’s Henry Shefflin and Conal Keaney of Dublin got some help from Hannah Mahony, Sean Whelan and Rebecca Moriarty at yesterday’s Centra ‘Champions of Healthy Living’ hurling launch in Dublin
Patrick Horgan of Cork, Kilkenny’s Henry Shefflin and Conal Keaney of Dublin got some help from Hannah Mahony, Sean Whelan and Rebecca Moriarty at yesterday’s Centra ‘Champions of Healthy Living’ hurling launch in Dublin
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

As a free-taker and a very good one at that, you'd imagine Pat Horgan would be a prime target for sledging.

Not so, says the Cork sharpshooter. In fact, he has never come across it in his career.

"It doesn't happen," insists the veteran of seven Championship campaigns with the Rebels. "It never happened me anyway."

Horgan was responding to questions about the problem du jour for the GAA that has grabbed all the attention after last Sunday's Ulster SFC match between Donegal and Tyrone.

Horgan caught bits of the match and what he saw didn't sit easy with him. He was particularly unimpressed with the attention Justin McMahon was paying to Michael Murphy.

Hurling had its own high-profile "up close and personal" treatment when Lar Corbett shadowed Tommy Walsh in the All-Ireland semi-final of 2012, but Horgan believes the more claustrophobic nature of football lends itself to such scenarios.

"I saw it in the football there at the weekend there as well," Horgan said. "Michael Murphy, a man hanging off him. . . I don't know how someone wants to go around doing that as a job. It just bugs me like. I have no time for it anyway.

"It's probably harder in hurling because the ball can travel so far so quick, whereas when you're building in football, fellas could be trotting around for a while, running off the ball for ages, so I'd say it happens more in football, yeah.

"When it happens it's not nice; to see it on Sunday, it wasn't nice."

Kilkenny legend Henry Shefflin echoed similar sentiments and doesn't see hurling going down the same route.

"You would hope that it just doesn't creep into the game of hurling," he said. "And I don't imagine it will."

Horgan doesn't expect it to become a factor either, meaning he'll stand over frees this summer without having to deflect the barbs.


But it seems that it's at the other end where Cork might have their problems.

Lorcan McLoughlin is the latest injury worry and he could miss much of the summer in a defence that has already lost Christopher Joyce to long-term injury.

Conor O'Sullivan, who started in both the drawn and replayed All-Ireland finals of 2013, has also left the panel, and while Horgan can see why people might assume the Rebels will struggle defensively, he believes they have the necessary cover.

"If you weren't down training and around the panel it is probably easy enough to say that. But when we are training you see nearly two for every position," said the Centra 'Champions of Healthy Living' ambassador.

"And when someone loses out like that, it's up to someone else to come in and show what they can do. It gives someone else a chance."

Club fixtures mean Jimmy Barry-Murphy's Cork won't reconvene as a full panel until early next week, leaving them with just a two-week run-in to the Waterford game.

There they will look to avenge the league final defeat to the Deise, on a day where they were quite simply outfought and outworked.

"We just couldn't match them on the day," Horgan says of the league decider.

"Just small things as well changed during the game that maybe would have got us back into it, but it just slipped away from us.

"A missed goal chance in the first-half, a point not given in the second half, things like that, they're small things but they change the game."

And Horgan insists that tight two week window won't be used as an excuse if they fail to deliver.

"We are after having the last six months and no one came near us and I think it is only fair you go back to the club and play a few games," he explained.

"They are waiting a long time for games.

"I think we know what we have to do with Cork. Things didn't go right the last day, we just need to look over them and try and put things right, which I think we can.

"They're a really hard-working team. We just didn't match them the last day. They ran all over us. That's something we're going to have to correct first of all the next day - we need to work as hard as them.

"After that then, we'll see how our hurling gets on."

Irish Independent

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