Patrick Horgan strikes back at ‘know-it-all’ hurling pundits
‘I watched the Leinster final, the 1996 Leinster final, on telly last week and they’re gammy!’
Cork’s Patrick Horgan: “The last thing you want is other teams back training and we’re still waiting for a manager.” Photograph: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
In one their confidence was questioned, and in another they were described as flaky. None of which really matters much to Cork forward Patrick Horgan, except when that level of hurling analysis and punditry comes so easy and so soft.
In Dublin to collect his PwC GAA/GPA Hurling of the Month for July, Horgan was asked about some of the things said about the Cork team this summer, including on RTÉ’s The Sunday Game. Former Cork hurler Brian Corcoran has questioned their confidence, partly explained by the lack of underage success.
Horgan softly hit back. “I think if you asked anyone in our dressing room are we confident, do we think we’ll win games, perform? I would say yeah. When you’re outside looking in it mightn’t look like that, I don’t know. I don’t feel like that, and I don’t think we feel like that.
“And the underage success could be sorted there in a couple of weeks – the chance of the under-20 this year – so we’re not too far away from underage trophies. Turning into senior is a different ball game, and we just need to get better ourselves as players, individuals, get ourselves over the line.
“But I think you could say that about any team, top team, from the quarter-final on. Ask Clare, Waterford, they’re confident they can beat anyone as well. So you can’t really say we’re lacking confidence. It’s just unlucky really.”
Almost certain of a fourth All-Star, Horgan hit 3-10 in the quarter-final defeat to Kilkenny, bringing his championship career tally to 21-402, the third highest in hurling history behind Kilkenny’s Henry Shefflin and Galway’s Joe Canning.
No wonder the comment about Cork being “flaky” appeared to hurt at least a little.
“They think they know it all. They do, all the boys, they’re not going to take my eyes from me. I watched the Leinster final, the 1996 Leinster final, on telly last week and they’re gammy! So there’s none of them fellas going to talk about us.
“I don’t know who they all think they are. They were all there too in that situation. And they all have situations where that word could be thrown at them too. If you go digging I’m sure you’d find it. But, yeah, I saw them fellas playing, and I’ll leave it at that with them.
“It makes me angry, though, because hurling now is not easy. And there’s fellas covering ground and they’re lifting weights. None of it is easy. Then you do something wrong, one thing wrong in a match, and the boys above in the studio like, f****, the arrows and all of this.
“To be honest we don’t give a s*** what they say. It’s just the fellas that are saying it baffles me, do you know what I mean?”
On a separate front, Horgan expects the Cork County Board to find the right replacement for manager John Meyler, who stepped down in charge after two seasons. The players, he says, are happy to stay out of it.
“Surprised it came so early. The term was up, I knew that much. It takes a lot of someone’s life, committing to run the Cork hurling team, and he put his whole life into it, you could see that. We just have to thank him for the time he gave us, to make us a better team. He gave us everything we needed and wanted. Not much more we could have asked.
“Two years is not a long time. You can’t always say change is good. Look at Kilkenny, the same manager for 20 years, as fresh as ever. It was probably a time thing, it’s done anyway. 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.
“You’d be hoping they get it done very soon so any young fella who needs work in the off-season will get that off him. 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. I don’t think they will, though, they’ll get it sorted hopefully.”
And would they be happy to see Kieran Kingston come back?
“We made a lot of progress under Kieran. And I know he left because there was so much time [involved]. Same with John. I don’t know who’s interested and who’s not. There will probably be some sort of interview process for that. Sooner or later fellas will have to come out whether they’re interested or not.”