'I have a time for visualisation so I'm not just burning my head with hurling, hurling, hurling...'

'I have a time for visualisation so I'm not just burning my head with hurling, hurling, hurling...'
Glen's Patrick Horgan battles Sars. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

HE turned 32 in May, but if there's a Cork hurler who has thrived as he has gotten older, it's Patrick Horgan.

A three-year Cork minor back in the mid-noughties, having played in his first Féile final for the Glen at just 11, Hoggie was always a magician with the sliotar. Yet he's been breathtakingly brilliant in his past three All-Star winning campaigns.

In the terrific new podcast series Glen Rovers and St Nicks clubs are producing, The Middle Field, Horgan offered an insight into how he changed his approach.

https://anchor.fm/glen-rovers/episodes/Series-1---Episode-2-Patrick-Horgan-eekif7

Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

"I put everything down to preparation," he explained in an engaging conversation with club members Eoghan Cronin and Seanie McGrath. "I feel if I've enough done on the training field and I feel comfortable receiving every type of ball and my striking is on point and my speed is on point, I'm ready then for a performance.

"About four or five years ago, I was training as much as anyone but I went after the 'one percents'. One of them was if I receive a ball, how can I gain a yard in a tight space consistently. I came up with a training routine around that. It works sometimes but I bought into it."

He's overdue an All-Ireland, having come within a blast of Brian Gavin's whistle of being the hero in 2013 against Clare. Perhaps this winter the truncated format will suit Horgan and the Rebels. Whatever happens, Horgan feels he has the correct mental approach to deliver.

"The mental side is huge as well. (Before) I would have thought about hurling when I was playing hurling, when I was at home, when I was eating my dinner, when I was at work, when I was out with Ashley, when I was away for a week.

Patrick Horgan with his parents Patrick and Ann Horgan and Ashley Lovett. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Patrick Horgan with his parents Patrick and Ann Horgan and Ashley Lovett. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

"What I tried to start doing was to be wherever I am. When I'm out with the boys now, I'm out with the boys. I'm not just having thoughts about hurling and visualising. I have a time for visualisation so I'm not just burning my head with 'hurling, hurling, hurling'."

He credits the influence of Gary Keegan, alongside Kieran Kingston in the 2016-'17 run, and then Munster rugby legend Doug Howlett, who was brought in by John Meyler, as being extremely beneficial.

"Gary Keegan put it on us: 'how can you get better through better planning?' It's all the one-percents or two-percents. I put a lot into that and I got a lot of value.

"Doug Howlett came in and you'd be all about the team in the GAA. His mentality, and the All Blacks mentality, was that there actually is an I in team, because you're not the best you can be, you're not the best you can be for the team. Win your own battle before you move on to the next."

The all-time top scorer with Cork and the Glen, Horgan had the hurling bug from an early age, representing Blackpool at U9 in the club's street leagues. He credits his father Pat with honing his skills before then.

"I'd have done a lot of hurling down by my own house with my dad. What I can remember of it, it was every night and it was just the basics but he taught me to do it perfectly, with a few tricks. I know it sounds young but he taught me how to protect myself when receiving the ball. I left school every day and I met him down by his work; I'd wait two hours and then up to the Glen straight away. That was every night."

Horgan's group was extremely talented, with Finbarr O'Neill coaching them up to Féile age and victory in that U14 competition, and Ian Lynam after, as they captured two U16 counties, two minors and an U21 crown. Paddy Barry was also a significant influence, giving Horgan his senior Glen debut at 17.

Horgan hammers home his first goal against Duhallow U21s. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Horgan hammers home his first goal against Duhallow U21s. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The wristy attacker is renowned for his dedication, whether it's free-taking, ball alley sessions or club training.

"It's not as if I'm at home thinking 'what a dose, I've training tonight'. I don't get sick of it.

"We're doing something we love doing; we train every day. I always thought 'go out and have a bit of fun'. Obviously it's very serious but it's all I ever wanted to do from when I joined, all I ever wanted to do was to play senior for the Glen. That was our goal.

"When I go training with the Glen, the training is on fire. If you come into the Glen training and you're only half putting it in, you'll stand out like a sore thumb. Preparation is the key to everything. Any drill we're doing it's at 100 miles an hour and in any game there's a bit of flaking."

Of course it all paid off, in 2015 and '16, when Horgan drove the Glen to their first senior titles since 1989.

"I don't think I was ever as happy coming off the field as the first year but with a small bit of luck or whatever you can win one. To win the two then was special for all of us. As soon as we won it, fellas were hungry for another and they still are."

Horgan is tackled by Erins Own's Shane Murphy and Jack Sheehan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Horgan is tackled by Erins Own's Shane Murphy and Jack Sheehan. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Make sure and check out the full podcast: 

https://anchor.fm/glen-rovers/episodes/Series-1---Episode-2-Patrick-Horgan-eekif7

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