Cadogan: Rebel hurlers want to provide a positive outlet for the people of Cork

Cadogan: Rebel hurlers want to provide a positive outlet for the people of Cork

Eoin Cadogan was in form for Douglas this summer but picked up a back injury that rules him out of this Saturday for Cork against Waterford. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

DESPITE an impressive club campaign with Douglas, veteran Eoin Cadogan won't feature in the squad of 26 for the trip to Tipp this weekend.

A back operation performed two days after a Premier SHC quarter-final defeat to Blackrock went well but shortened his training time ahead of the Munster semi-final. 

"A very minor procedure and I've returned to training but the Waterford game is too soon based on the amount of work fellas have done over the last few weeks. Obviously, I'm very disappointed but the bottom line is I just want Cork to win.

"It's inter-county hurling so you can't just get up off the couch and throw yourself into a Munster championship game."

Colin Dunford of Waterford in action against Eoin Cadogan. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Colin Dunford of Waterford in action against Eoin Cadogan. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

The experienced defender certainly isn't feeling sorry for himself, quite the opposite given how close the inter-county came to being called off because of Covid restrictions.

"Anyone fortunate enough to go out play with they love this weekend, hurling or football, and represent their counties, they're in a really positive place. If anyone said we'd be doing Zoom media nights, social distancing and having no one inside in Thurles or Croke Park but we'd have games, we'd have snatched their hand off. 

"Hopefully, as the year goes on we'll be in a much better place with Covid. There's a huge amount of negativity around and socially it can be difficult so sport is a massive outlet. 

Eoin Cadogan of Cork is interviewed last summer. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Eoin Cadogan of Cork is interviewed last summer. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

"That's for journalists, because it's yer jobs, for players, because we enjoy doing it, and for those at home. That could be someone sitting at home on their own with no other family around or for families on a whole. It's great to give some small bit of satisfaction this weekend."

He explained the Rebel squad are very aware of the need to be careful in terms of interactions outside of work and the panel.

"Not everything is going to go smoothly across the board. Dave Nolan is our Covid officer, as well as Dr Con and Colm Murphy, and they've been doing an outstanding job. I don't want to jink it, the week of championship, but everything has been top-notch. 

"Our standards are high on the pitch but it's even more important we carry it off the field. We know the risk that comes with dropping your guard."

Cork are favourites against Waterford, who struggled in 2018 and '19 in the round-robin format, which has been replaced this season with the traditional backdoor.

"They've a new manager but one who set his stall out early on in terms of some of the decisions he made. We're not naive enough not to realise that Waterford will be coming all guns blazing and full of energy with a manager like Liam Cahill involved. It's eight months since we played our last competitive game, against Galway, and that's a long time to try and gauge a team's form.

"We've have to really worry about ourselves in the last few weeks and be sure we got on top of our game-plan and understanding of the style of play. With new players coming in after the club championship it's freshened things up as well."

He felt the club series on Leeside was a resounding success.

"It was my first time in 18 or 19 seasons not being involved in football with Douglas. I just made the call at the start of the season that I wanted to focus on hurling with the volume of games coming thick and fast. Being joint-captain with Mark Harrington it just sat better with me.

 Eoin Cadogan, Douglas, battling Liam Jennings, Ballincollig, in 2019. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Eoin Cadogan, Douglas, battling Liam Jennings, Ballincollig, in 2019. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

"I enjoyed the club championship a lot better this year. There was no in and out in the middle of April, there was no 'will we have you, won't we have you'. We knew exactly what the dates were and that was better for myself and my team-mates. 

"In terms of it being a successful year, it's never successful when you don't win, and Blackrock obviously went on and did it, they're a fine team. We've made progress but there's plenty we need to learn from this year and built on too.

"With the current climate, once we started returning to training, the quality was quite high and the games were of a very high quality as well. The intensity, the tempo and the quality of the hurling was at a high standard so we hope the guys who performed with their clubs can carry that through with Cork this weekend."

Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton
Picture: INPHO/Ken Sutton

Now 34, he's one of only a handful of players of his generation, still wearing the Blood and Bandage in either code. 

"It doesn't get more difficult, if anything it gets easier. There's a huge amount of education out there so I've learned to look after myself over the past few years and the GPS and the date doesn't lie. It's good to stick it to the younger fellas when they see I'm faster than them!"

He'll be a keen spectator on Saturday, especially with his brother Alan at corner-forward.

"Obviously, you can't travel but it reduces the risk for our players. It'll be extremely difficult but if we get a good result I'll be back into training with another opportunity to try and get back into the match-day 26."

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