You have to be obsessed with the game to remain ahead of pack - Horgan
It seems strange to even ask Patrick Horgan how he can improve for next season, given his extraordinary highlight reel in recent months, but his obsession will continue to drive him to new heights.
A haul of 3-10 (2-2 from play) in Cork's All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Kilkenny last month secured his second PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Month award this summer and makes him a shoo-in to collect his fourth All-Star later this year.
Personal accolades are of little consolation given Cork's exit from the All-Ireland race, but he already has one eye on next year and trying to maintain the remarkable standards which mark him out as one of the game's greatest.
"It's kind of like a bit obsessed with being better all the time," Horgan said of his chase for greatness.
"Everyone enjoys something and what I enjoy is going playing hurling in the evening and improving on something.
"Any time I think about hurling is when I'm at my happiest. Think about hurling during work and it would kind of put you in a happy place for a while or whatever or even visualising different things in games or positions you were in, positions you might find yourself in a game coming up.
"It's not only me, there's a lot of fellas in Cork that are at the same thing. Some lads are 21 and I'm looking at them and thinking that if I'm not doing what they're doing, I'm left behind because they're young and they're hungry.
"If I'm not doing what they're doing, they're gone and I won't catch them."
Were Horgan to finish his inter-county career without a Celtic Cross, he would be widely recognised as one of the greatest players never to lift Liam MacCarthy but he still feels the Rebels are edging closer to a breakthrough.
Cork legend Brian Corcoran recently spoke of a lack of self-belief, combined with the absence of underage success, preventing the Rebels from getting over the line but Horgan doesn't buy that.
"If you asked anyone in our dressing room, do we think we'll win games and perform in games. They'd say 'yeah'. But I'd say when you're outside then looking in, it probably mightn't look like that" he said.
"I don't think we feel like that. And the underage success hopefully will be sorted in a couple of weeks. We'd the best U-21 team last year, we'll hopefully win the U-20 this year. Individually we just have to get better as players and basically get ourselves over the line. There's not much more can be done for us. Everything is there in place for us. All we need to do is perform. That's our job."
With John Meyler standing down as Cork boss, a number of possible successors have been suggested, including former boss Kieran Kingston who was in charge in 2016-17).
Thanking Meyler for his service, the 31-year-old refused to be drawn on who should take over, indicating that players would take a back seat in that process.
"We'll just wait it out. It's gone so professional now, there will be a system of choosing the next manager, professional guys to do the job. Our job is to perform. We'll just wait for a text from someone, it's more in our interest to get more out of ourselves," he said.
"You'd be hoping they get it done very soon, so you hope it doesn't go on too long. The last thing you want is other teams back training, and we're still waiting for a manager."