Patrick Horgan: Limerick are ahead for now but top six all capable of beating them

Rebel captain helped to launch the new Sports Direct sponsored Cork geansaí
Patrick Horgan: Limerick are ahead for now but top six all capable of beating them

Cork GAA hurling captain, Patrick Horgan, at the announcement of Sports Direct’s new five-year sponsorship deal with Cork GAA. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

CORK hurling captain Patrick Horgan believes the short training window before the delayed inter-county campaign didn't help the Rebels' cause last season.

With a hectic club schedule on Leeside to run off, Kieran Kingston's charges only had a couple of weeks training as a full squad before their Munster semi-final loss to Waterford. They subsequently beat Dublin in the qualifiers before another defeat to Tipp.

The northsider was speaking at the launch of Cork's new sponsorship deal with Sports Direct.

“We all feel we could have done something better in 2020. It kind of got away from us in a way that our county championship went on very long last year and we didn’t exactly have forever to get together.

Waterford caught us on a day when I think we had double-digit wides in the first quarter and kinda shot ourselves out of it, really. 

"Waterford were very good on the day as well but we were a bit better against Dublin and then against Tipp we were a bit unlucky conditions-wise and we came up against the worst of the conditions on the night.

“I thought we gave ourselves every chance against a ridiculously strong wind in the first half. The wind doesn’t win anything, I know, but yeah Tipp fully deserved their win over us. Look, it was just disappointing and that’s obviously something we will try and correct and are trying to correct at the moment.” 

Patrick Horgan shoots from Shane Fives. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Patrick Horgan shoots from Shane Fives. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Turning 33 in May, Horgan feels there will no shortage of challengers to Limerick's crown this season, despite their outstanding efforts in 2020 and the suggestion they're set to dominate again.

“It’s not something I agree with. If you look at any of their games last year, they were competitive for long periods and I suppose the thing with them is they stick to their plan throughout and eventually they get there.

Yeah, they’re a really good side and obviously ahead of everyone but I don’t think they’re as far ahead as people make out. 

"I think it’s very competitive and even anyone from Limerick will tell you when they go out of one of the top five or six teams they have their guard up because they know anyone can beat anyone on any given day. They know they won’t get it too easy off the six teams in the country.”

On the controversy surrounding the link-up with Sports Direct, and their majority owner Mike Ashley, Horgan played it down with a smile: "I'd say he's bigger fish to fry than a hurling team in Cork! 

"It's good that Sports Direct are trying to get involved with the GAA world. It's a big step for them, and Cork, teaming up at county level. I'm looking forward to it and I can imagine everyone else in Cork is feeling the same." 

Sports Direct have been on board with Glen Rovers in recent years.

Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

"It's exciting that they're coming into Cork because I've seen them with the Glen for the last three years and they've been nothing but good for the Glen and I know they're going to bring the same into Cork. We're looking forward to having them, putting the jersey on with their name and off we go.

"Anything the club needs, obviously at a higher level than I'd be dealing with, all we hear back are good things. They're interested in putting on different days and festivals and stuff with a lot of the underage at them." 

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