Tributes paid to former Cork hurler John Horgan
Jimmy Barry Murphy and Denis Coughlan remember former team-mate
Warm tributes were paid this weekend to former All-Ireland winning Cork and Blackrock hurler John Horgan who passed away on Friday at his family home in Rochestown in the city.
A swashbuckling corner back noted for his long striking, the blonde Horgan won his first All-Ireland with Cork in 1970 and was part of the three-in-a-row team that won again in 1976, 1977 and 1978.
Among his team-mates on the Cork three-in-a-row team was former All-Ireland-winning Cork hurling manager, Jimmy Barry Murphy who recalled how the Blackrock man was a stalwart of the team.
“I played with John for Cork and he was an inspirational player because of his type of play with his long striking and the scores he got were fantastic and would lift the team on many occasions.
“He was also an incredibly popular player across the clubs – he wasn’t into the club rivalries that a lot of us were into, he was above all that – he was a one -off, a free spirit type of player.
“But he was also a strong hurler too – I played against him many times with the Barrs against Blackrock and I found him very difficult to mark and I never liked marking him.”
Barry Murphy extended his sympathies to Horgan’s widow, Liz, and the couple’s four adult daughters, Gillian, Laraine, Debbie and Ashleigh, saying he would be a huge loss to his family.
Fellow Cork hurler Denis Coughlan who played half back outside Horgan both in 1970 and on the three-in-row team, also remembered his former team-mate with great fondness and affection.
“I first came across John when he was playing senior hurling with Passage in 1966 when the Glen played them in a league game and he marked Christy Ring who was nearing the end of his career.
“He was only about 16 at the time but he was striking – he had this shock of blonde hair but he was very strong striker of the ball even then and of course that was one of the features of his hurling.
“He was left corner back and I would have been left half back and he was great to play outside because you always knew if the ball passed you, he was great to commit himself to meeting the ball.
“And of course, he was renowned for his long clearances and I recall in the 1978 Munster final against Clare and we were leading by 0-5 to 0-1 at half-time and John had scored four of those points.”
“He was generally quiet in the dressing room and he let his hurling do his talking but off the pitch he was great company, a lovely man to talk and very witty, you would enjoy his company,” he said.
Coughlan pointed out that Horgan also had a reputation as being a lucky captain, leading Blackrock to Cork County titles in 1971, 1973 and 1978 with each leading to All-Ireland club success.
“John was captain in 1979 when we were going for four-in-a-row with Cork and we were all thrilled because he had this reputation for being a lucky captain so we figured we were going to win.
“But Galway didn’t read the script and we were very disappointed when we lost to them but we gave him a slagging afterwards ‘How come we were beaten John, you were the captain’.”
“The blonde hair could have been a drawback because you know how distinctive he could be on the field but I think it worked in his favour because he was everyone’s favourite and a lovely fellow.”
Horgan’s remains will be removed from O’Connor’s Funeral Home Temple Hill to St Mary’s Church in Passage West at 6pm on Monday evening with funeral mass at 11am on Tuesday.