The John Horgan column: First move by new hurling management has got the Rebel seal of approval

The John Horgan column: First move by new hurling management has got the Rebel seal of approval
Cork's Patrick Horgan in action against Kilkenny. Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

THE initial tasks of a new inter-county management team are to put a panel in place and choose who will captain the team going forward.

Kieran Kingston and the rest of his management team appointed Patrick Horgan as their captain last weekend and it has been given an absolute vote of approval here on Leeside.

Horgan did captain the team in the past, filling in when Donal Óg Cusack got injured back in 2012 but this is the first time he has been handed the role at the outset of a new season.

Whatever else Kingston and co do in the months ahead, they have got the first decision spot on.

Horgan is one of the best Cork forwards of all time and that’s saying something when you consider how many there have been through the ages.

He might not have the haul of medals that others have but that should not diminish his prowess in any way.

New Cork hurling captain Patrick Horgan at the opening of Ross Centra in Watergrasshill last week.
New Cork hurling captain Patrick Horgan at the opening of Ross Centra in Watergrasshill last week.

It was just the other night on TG4 I watched him again scoring that terrific goal against Kilkenny back in the summer when he was on his knees, a wonder goal.

In his last match of this season last Sunday week in Semple Stadium he delivered another terrific goal against Borris-Leigh, another example of his unique ability to plunder goals of that nature.

There is no doubt that he’s probably in the Autumn of his career now but given the way he looks after himself we should see him in a Glen and Cork jersey for quite some time yet.

He’s eight years older and wiser now than he was when he last wore the captain’s armband and one has no doubt that he will lead this Cork team with great example.

The Glen have given Cork hurling great men who have lifted the McCarthy Cup through the ages, Connie Buckley, Jack Lynch, Christy Ring, Martin Doherty and Tomas Mulcahy.

Would it not be the most fitting of all accolades if the one they call Hoggy was to join that illustrious group.

As regards the panel, it will open all the time, and it will be more of a training group initially, players being invited in to train and maybe not being included in a match day squad.

There’s a lot of young talent coming through in Cork right now, younger players like Ryan Walsh, Tommy O’Connell, Sean Twomey, Sean O’Leary-Hayes, Deccie Dalton who will be in that training group.

Imokilly full-back Colm Barry is included as well after a splendid year which brought him a third county medal.

There’s a tough few months ahead for a lot of players, a very demanding schedule of at least five NHL games, Fitzgibbon Cup assignments etc.

It starts with the Munster League games so it makes sense to have that training group in place and to try and elevate players on to the championship stage.

Meanwhile, if one was fortunate enough to tune in last Sunday to TG4 for the Leinster Club SHC between St Mullins from Carlow and Rathdowney-Errill from Laois, they got lucky because it had to be one of the best hurling games of the year.

In the end the graph of Carlow hurling rose further with St Mullins winning by a point, delivered by their star player James Doyle.

It was a point that any of the best forwards in the country would have been proud of in a game that was absolutely compelling all through.

He scored some wonderful points throughout the game while team captain Marty Kavanagh ended up with 1-9.

This St Mullins team had earlier beaten crack Dublin outfit Cuala by a point as well and it was a similar story in the Carlow county final win over Mount Leinster Rangers.

In that win over Cuala, the gloss was quickly removed when it was learned that one of their selectors, Michael Ryan had taken very ill on the sideline.

Happily, he’s on the road to recovery now and, by all accounts, spoke to the players by phone at half-time on Sunday.

Now it’s Ballyhale-Shamrocks in the final and they will be raging underdogs in that game but they’ll not be intimidated by reputation.

After all, they are building up quite a reputation themselves.

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