Tom Kenny: Eoin Cadogan was a role model to all young Cork players

Douglas clubman lined out in both codes for Cork across a 15-year career
Tom Kenny: Eoin Cadogan was a role model to all young Cork players

Cork's Eoin Cadogan celebrates in front of the Hill after defeating Down in the 2010 All-Ireland final. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

EOIN Cadogan’s former Cork team-mate Tom Kenny has praised the recently retired Douglas man’s longevity.

The 35-year-old, who lined out at left half-back Cork in August’s All-Ireland final defeat to Limerick, announced his retirement from inter-county hurling on Friday. Cadogan had a Cork career that spanned 15 years across hurling and football, having made his debut for Billy Morgan’s football side in 2007, the same year that he won an All-Ireland U21 football medal. 

In 2009, he opted to focus on hurling, making his debut in a qualifier win over Dublin, but in the following year, after the hurlers’ championship exit, he appeared for the footballers again as they reached the All-Ireland final.

In 2010, he was a dual player and featured at corner-back as Conor Counihan guided Cork to a first All-Ireland title in 20 years. Having opted to focus fully on football in 2013, he rejoined the hurling squad in 2014, winning a Munster medal, but at the end of that year, he once again committed to football only. After 2017, he switched allegiance back to hurling, winning another Munster medal in 2018.

With his club Douglas, he won a county Premier IHC medal in 2009, having been part of the football side which reached the county senior final the previous year. Kenny felt that Cadogan worked hard to ensure he had a long career in red.

“Around 2010, 2011, 2012 and into 2013, he began to look at his lifestyle,” he said, “and became really health-conscious and fitness-conscious and that helped him throughout the rest of his career and got him to this stage.

Eoin Cadogan of Cork makes his way from the dressing rooms. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Eoin Cadogan of Cork makes his way from the dressing rooms. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

“That’s not to say he didn’t look after himself before that but he became really fitness-orientated and that definitely gave him a bit of longevity.

When he switched from football to hurling, he went seamlessly back in. Doing that, it can take time to get going but he had that ability to fall into both very easily.”

Cadogan’s retirement statement was posted on Instagram.

“After careful consideration and reflection, I have decided that the time is right to retire from inter-county hurling.

“Throughout my 15-year career, representing Cork in both hurling and football, I can rest easy in the knowledge that I did so with pride, respect and honour for my team-mates, my club, supporters and the Cork jersey.

“To be able to say that I played at the highest level in hurling, football and represented my country in international rules is a dream I’ve made real through hard work, determination and perseverance.

“To my parents, James and Eileen, sisters Claire, Ann Marie and brother Alan, playing was as much about doing you all proud as it was about me achieving my goals and I think you for being there every step of the way with me.

“I’d like to thank the Cork County Board, Douglas GAA, the GPA and countless Cork supporters who have been there on the good and bad days and whose spirit and belief never wavered in supporting our journey in trying to achieve success.

“To the current Cork management team, the management teams and coaches of the past, I thank you for always showing belief in me as an individual and wish them well in the future.

“I’d also like to acknowledge the late Br Damien Brennan, whose support, belief and friendship allowed me to fully maximise my potential and achieve things I thought were impossible.

“I look forward to the new challenges and opportunities that await me as the journey continues in a new direction.”

Eoin Cadogan of Cork is tackled by Gearóid Hegarty of Limerick. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Eoin Cadogan of Cork is tackled by Gearóid Hegarty of Limerick. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

While there is no shortage of options from the last two All-Ireland U20-winning squads to replace Cadogan, Kenny – now an U20 selector – feels that patience is required.

“In a way, Cork’s template is still probably a couple of years down the line,” he says.

“I know that whenever Cork go out to play a championship match, hurling especially, the ultimate goal is the All-Ireland and you don’t think of anything less in terms of winning.

“From outside the camp looking in, it’s probably for the next couple of years about building a squad, getting in those players who’ve won All-Ireland U20 medals – just because they’ve won at U20 it doesn’t mean they’re going to fall in seamlessly, it takes a while and they have to get square pegs in square holes. Relationships have to be built up and maintained.

“Definitely, there are good players coming through. Eoin’s experience will be a big loss but Cork have built up a lot of experience last year getting to an All-Ireland final.”

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