Rebel yell... Cadogan parks up Munster title and eyes up return to Croker 

Rebel yell... Cadogan parks up Munster title and eyes up return to Croker 
Eoin Cadogan drives out. Picture: INPHO/James Crombie

EOIN Cadogan is the only senior All-Ireland medalist on the Cork panel, as a footballer.

The dual dynamo was a cornerstone of the Rebel defence when they beat Down in 2010 and he utilised all his experience and heft to telling effect in the second half last Sunday. Cadogan might be turning 32 soon but his energy and drive shut down Clare target-man Peter Duggan as Cork came from eight down to lift the Munster title again.

It was a sweet victory for the Douglas man, who was on the fringes in 2014 when Cork landed the provincial crown and was involved with the footballers last summer. 

"100% it's up there with them. Any time you win trophies is brilliant. Especially to share it with a great group, but looks it's brilliant in the moment but by the time you're on the bus back to Cork you've to be looking ahead to the semi-final."

Cadogan was centre-back in the 2012 semi-final when Cork were beaten by Galway and also in the defence in 2010 when Kilkenny blitzed a side who never recovered from losing the Munster final replay to Waterford. Since the glory days of 2003-'06, the Rebels have lost five of the six semi-finals they've reached.

"The Munster final is a great occasion which the supporters, our families and our clubs deserve more than anything, but then we park it and go again so we can give our best performance in four weeks."

That type of focus is exactly why Cork manager John Meyler recruited Cadogan last winter. A qualified strength and conditioning coach himself, he assisted Meyler with the U21s in 2017, when Kieran 'Fraggie' Murphy was also a selector, as well as Seanie Barry who is now in the senior backroom.

Eoin Cadogan with Republic of Ireland soccer player David Meyler, son of Cork manager John, after the win on Sunday. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Eoin Cadogan with Republic of Ireland soccer player David Meyler, son of Cork manager John, after the win on Sunday. Picture: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Despite those close ties, he was on the bench for the opening three games of the round-robin series. This was no doubt tough to take when Cadogan had operated at full-back for all bar one of the league outings.

An injury to Mark Ellis opened the door against Waterford and while he was delighted to get his opportunity, Cadogan appreciates the team ethic in the group.

"The collective is what it's all about. It was unfortunate for Mark and I got a break to get in the team but it's about the group. There are no individuals in that dressing room. That was reflected in the second half. We played for each other."

The Banner's blitzkrieg start didn't surprise him. He knew they'd be on a mission after losing last year's decider.

"They've good forwards. It's a really good Clare team, they were going to have times when they were on top and they were hungry for a Munster medal. We were hungry for success too. We wanted to win for all the people that travelled." 

A year ago he was in Semple shouting on his younger brother Alan. 

"Last year I was out there watching the trophy being lifted and delighted for the lads and now I'm playing. To have a run without injuries and to be performing to my best is great."

Unfortunately, a knee injury has kept Alan on the sidelines so far this summer. The flying corner-forward is back in light training after an operation to fix a bone spur that was causing an issue with his medial ligament. There is a still an outside chance he'll be back in action before the inter-county season ends, especially if Cork make the All-Ireland.

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