GLEN ROVERS team boss Ritchie Kelleher is well used to fielding questions surrounding his star player Patrick Horgan in the aftermath of championship encounters.
Last Saturday night, in front of empty stands and terraces at Pairc Uí Chaoimh, the Cork star turned in another scintillating display as the Blackpool team overwhelmed St Finbarr’s.
Horgan secured 1-9 for his team, his goal a thing of real beauty and another illustration of what he is capable of.
Some of his point taking was from the top drawer again and it seems that with every passing day he’s just getting better and better.
Kelleher was obviously delighted with the team’s overall performance but he had special words of praise again for his ace attacker.
“He is just a brilliant hurler, I watched him during the week in training and I said to the lads that he was razor sharp.
“Obviously, he spends a lot of time with Cork when they are preparing for games and we don’t normally see him that often.
“But I thought this week he was really, really sharp. Look, he’s a superb hurler, hurling is Patrick’s life, he’s just mad about it and we are just thrilled to have him in our club.
“Down the years, we have had some fantastic hurlers wearing the Glen Rovers jersey and Patrick is right up there among the very best of them.
“It’s just a joy to watch him, the dedication that he shows and the example that he sets throughout our whole club.”
On the overall display of the team, Kelleher, himself one of the club’s great servants, told the Echo that it was hugely pleasing. Coming in we did not know what we might get. We were short a couple of players but we worked with what we had and we were going well in training.
“I was confident coming down here but it was our first championship game of the season and you really didn’t know.
“But out there we were very good but we have to keep that going, everybody has to keep his form because we are out again next weekend. It’s a quick turnaround but that’s the way it is.”
Despite playing with only 14 players for the entire second-half, Robert Downey being dismissed on a red card for an off the ball offence, there was no let-up when it really mattered in the second-half and that delighted Kelleher.
“We have that experience, winning county titles, getting into them and we have hurlers who can play in different positions, corner-back, full-back.
“They have the appetite and we can move them around the pitch. Robert told me that he didn’t do anything major, I did not see it but we’ll look at that. We did leave them back into the game for a while , we tend to do that, it’s a trait that we have but we pushed on after getting ourselves into a bit of a hole there before half-time.”
Kelleher acknowledged that the game was very special for the club and the team wore a special jersey for it.
“Yes, there was a special emblem on our jersey today to commemorate what would have been the 100th birthday of the great Christy Ring this year and it was only fitting for us that his grandson Simon Kennefick should get two great goals for us.
“We decided this year to go with that jersey and I gave the green light for it immediately.
“The family gave the full go-ahead for the jersey and the players were delighted to wear it. Now they want to keep the jersey but that won’t be happening.
“There’s a picture of Christy Ring on it to mark his 100th birthday and the club had great plans but with the Covid thing that did not happen. But, I don’t know who thought it, wearing the special jersey was special for us, his grandson playing, it shows what kind of a club the Glen is and what a family we are in this club.”
There will be no arguments on that score from anybody, the Glen played superbly in this victory but, at the same time, they will not lose the run of themselves either.
The road ahead will be difficult in a very short space of time but in the emptiness and eeriness of Páirc Uí Chaoimh last Saturday night they produced the goods.
There goals were sublimely executed and young Kennefick did brilliantly with his brace. Horgan’s was worth the admission alone for the 40 or 50 supporters who were present and all over the field very little fault could be found with the side.
Luke Horgan looks a fine prospect, Liam Coughlan took some great points and the defence battened down the hatches against a ‘Barrs attack that never ignited. On this evidence, the team from Togher must be a whole lot better the next day against Na Piarsaigh in a game that is now effectively a make or break tie for them.
For the Glen, however, this was good stuff and for the very few of us present we got to see one of greatest Cork hurlers in Patrick Horgan illustrating his class again.
The rest of the contenders have been warned, he’s back firing on all cylinders, good news for Cork too for what lies ahead further down the road.