Paudie Palmer: Hoggie’s bench role in Thurles may have been a blessing 

Cork fans are keeping a sharp eye on developments about the manager's position, with Kieran Kingston's three-year term officially over
Paudie Palmer: Hoggie’s bench role in Thurles may have been a blessing 

Patrick Horgan of Cork with supporters at Corrigan Park. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

SITTING to pen these few words, I could be facing a similar dilemma to the one that may have presented itself when the Cork senior hurling management team assembled to select their starting 15 for last Saturday’s clash with Galway.

Dammed if you do and equally dammed if you don’t!

For them, it was whether or not to start one of Cork’s greatest ever stickman, Patrick Horgan, or place him on the pine seating for a finishing role.

The dilemma right now for this corner, to praise or to dam the said amateur sportsmen and their back-up crew who represented their county for this quarter-final clash.

Forgive me dear readers, but I am assuming that despite the natural feelings of disappointment that comes with losing, some of you felt they did their best and some of you, are members of the highly critical club.

The former is the view of this scribbler.

In relation to Horgan and as a counterargument to the now popular held view that he should have started.

Most couldn’t believe when Conor Lehane's radar was malfunctioning to such a degree that he missed three from four placed balls. Then Mark Coleman couldn't convert from distance either.  

Fast forward to the second game and with Clare playing into the same goal as Cork were, the mercurial Tony Kelly also entered into wide mode. He too had free-taking removed from his job description.

So, can one ask, was there some wind issues at that end of the pitch? And if there was, and Horgan began as Cork free-taker, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the great Glen Rovers man would have missed a few which would have necessitated him being withdrawn.

So to cut to the chase, Hoggie, not starting may have been a blessing of sorts.

In the aftermath of the defeat, the long wait got the necessary attention, it is now 18 years since beating Galway in the All-Ireland final and of course, there is a possibility of it rising. Shortly we will be hiring Mayo counsellors who specialise in the waiting game!

Don’t rule the possibility that sometime in the future, information may come into the public domain, that the winning 2005 team committed some act that resulted in the bestowing of some curse. I wonder did they all pay their station dues that year?

There are positives from the campaign.

Reviewing the year, we can say that Cork are a top-tier hurling team capable of acquitting themselves against close to all the other top 12. We can also say with a fair degree of certainty that a number of the younger brigade will have benefited from the 2022 league and championship. 

The underage indicators are decent in terms of minor, U20, and second-level schools.

By the time you read this, there may be some announcement as regards the Cork management team for 2023, but already there has been some whispering from the “outside coach movement.”

Liam Sheedy’s praiseworthy comments about the Cork team on The Sunday Game were viewed by some as him auditioning, for the managerial position if it becomes vacant.

He did mention the need for an upping the anti in the S&C stakes. To that end, he added that with immediate effect, each of the panel minus those that had reached the date at the can should be presented with a piece of paper detailing the number of press-ups and other ups that should undertake.

If we could it hold there for a minute. Does the Tipp man need reminding that these players are now club players and over the next few months will be lining out with their clubs and quite a few will become dual operators?

As regards S&C, I would like to think that with Stephen Casey and Aidan O’Connell on board, there is enough expertise in this area.

In case Davy Fitzgerald is of the opinion that his presence on Leeside as the coach of the county senior camogie team fulfills his obligation, he can think again; he too is featuring in the outside movement.

The final name for the moment in that regard is Eddie Brennan.

For what is worth, if Kieran Kingston decides to step away, he can do so in the knowledge that he and his supporting cast have served the county on a massive scale.

Cork manager Kieran Kingston. Picture: INPHO/Tom Maher
Cork manager Kieran Kingston. Picture: INPHO/Tom Maher

Also, I would like to think that there is enough expertise within the county if they are willing to undertake this mammoth voluntary operation.

Of course, you are aware that when championship 2022 began, Cork had the customary six runners going to the starting blocks, minor, U20, and senior in both codes.

The bookies’ odds would have been more than generous if you had sought their advice on the last one standing.

Suggesting that the senior footballers take a bow would be a tad disingenuous but facts are facts.

I can’t remember a time that a Cork football team traveled to Croke Park for a knockout championship game where a comprehensive defeat is the only considered outcome.

The idle chat is not factoring in any form of shock, rather it is concentrating on the margin of expected defeat.

Figures ranging from 10 to 25 are in the mix.

For John Cleary, it could very well be another 'dammed if you do or dammed if you don’t' situation.

Does he get the team to set up defensively as Louth did when they played Cork a few weeks ago or does he adopt the Limerick approach when they visited Pairc Uí Chaoimh?

It might be a case of splitting the difference.

BEST TEAM

In wishing the Cork team all the best we will borrow from the late Moss Keane. Moss, a Kerryman after dabbling in Gaelic football, went on to play rugby for Ireland.

Over a time he got to know Bill Beaumont who lined out for England when Moss was in his prime. The two met on the way to the pitch in Twickenham prior to an Ireland-England game where the hosts were overwhelming favourites.

By all accounts, the Englishman’s departing comments to his friend Moss were 'May the best team win'.

The response from the Kerryman was swift and accurate 'I hope not'.

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