Two weeks doesn’t seem like enough time to absorb and digest a league final defeat, but Patrick Horgan says Cork have already turned a page in their season.
Of course it was disappointing to have lost the game,” he says of the six-point defeat against Waterford in Thurles last Saturday, “but if you look back and look at the league from a single source: we got what we wanted ? I think we have.
“There were even positive things from the final,” he emphasized.
“There were still six or seven minutes to play and from the way the game went and the goals they scored you would almost think it was game over.
“There are bigger days ahead and you have to be right for them.”
Horgan spoke yesterday at the launch of Pro Hurling, an e-academy he has set up for boys aged five to 16 to hone their skills.
Hours later he was back on the training ground with Cork for the first time since losing to Waterford, and yet given the shortened season structure they are just 12 days away from a first game against Munster SHC.
There they play the great hurling conundrum: a Limerick team that has won three of the last four All-Irelands but is something of an unknown quantity due to its oddly listless league campaign.
At least as part of their trip to Páirc Uí Chaoimh on April 17th.
“They’re a wild team, they were,” Horgan said. “They’ve probably come back from vacation a little late this year and stuff like that, which is fair enough.
“But overall they’re the team to beat again for the year and there’s no way they can hide from that, or anyone can hide from that.
“They’re a serious outfit and we know that firsthand.”
This is only the third year of round-robin provincial championships after temporarily returning to knockout-only formats in 2019-20, but the cliché that there are no easy games may have been invented with the Munster SHC in mind be.
“Hurling has become so competitive,” Horgan noted.
“Any team you come across could give you an L (loss) and Munster are probably the best example of that.
“No matter who you’re up against, you just don’t know what’s going to happen that day.
“You just have to be on your game or you’ll be sent home with a loss so we know how competitive it is and we know we have to be on.”
Cork have now lost both the League and All-Ireland Finals in the space of six months.
Those losses, Horgan points out, were nothing special other than Cork’s ability to reach big endgames.
“When you get to the final, you want to perform. We are not. It was clear to everyone that we didn’t play at all,” he says.
“It hurts, yes, because it’s so hard to get to the final and there’s so much competition at the moment
“If you take the Waterford team even the other night, they’ve lost a lot of finals in recent years. That’s a journey they’ve been on and I assume we’re on a journey too.
“I know it’s not great to lose a final, but you can see there’s a bit of consistency last year when it comes to reaching a final. Only one team beat us last year and that was Limerick.
“I think the team is definitely moving in the right direction this year by reaching the league finals and hopefully we can continue like that,” he concluded.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/hurling/patrick-horgan-cork-have-bigger-days-ahead-as-limerick-loom-large-41524671.html Patrick Horgan: Cork have bigger days ahead with Limerick playing a big part