Cork hurlers not scarred by League defeat to Limerick
By John Harrington
Patrick Horgan doesn’t believe Cork's heavy Allianz League defeat to Limerick earlier this month will have any impact on the Munster SHC semi-final the two teams will contest on July 3.
Limerick were comfortably the better team, winning in the end by 0-33 to 2-19, but Cork held some players in reserve including Horgan who only came on for the second-half.
“I think it'll be long forgotten, we'll start off at nil-all again,” says Horgan. “At the same time, we were going down to Limerick hoping that we could give them a game and possibly win the game.
“We found out early on that it wasn't going to be that easy. As disappointing as our first half was, we had chances. We were competitive in the second-half, that's about all we can say. We were a bit better.
“I think the second-half was really competitive from us and that was the obvious positive from us. We kind of held our own for a bit against them.”
Horgan admits the reigning All-Ireland champions are a formidable team, but he knows from past experience that Cork are capable of troubling them.
“They’re strong all over the field, every position always seems perfect,” he says. “Look, we've obviously a really tough task in two and a half weeks, but we've given them good games before.
“We've given them really good games more or less all the times we've played them in League or Championship other than a couple of weeks ago. The last four years we've been really competitive against them. Overall we've probably done the best against them.
“We've beaten them a few times in the Championship and they've beaten us a few times and they've been great games and I'd expect nothing other than that it'll go down to the end of the game and whoever can pull it out of the fire there.”
Cork certainly have the firepower to trouble any team out there. Horgan is still the main man, but the Rebels now have serious attacking strength in depth thanks to the development of young players like Jack O’Connor, Shane Barrett, Alan Connolly, and Conor Cahalane.
“All really fast, really good hurlers,” says Horgan of the new breed of Cork forwards. “The most important is that they're all some of the first down training every night and working on how they can get better and that's a great thing to see.
“I just think Jack and the lads, have all matured. They're just finding out what works for them with their pace and off the shoulder running. It's them realising how they can gain an advantage.
“So far it's been working, but obviously there's still a bit more to work on.”
Questions still remain about Cork’s defensive durability, but Horgan is confident they have as good a chance as anyone else of mounting a serious challenge for the Liam MacCarthy Cup this year.
“How far we can go? I don't know. If we play well throughout the Championship we'll be as competitive as anyone. And, honestly, you can see by the League that on any given day it really is a toss of a coin and come down to one break of a ball or one free.
“Something as tiny as that will separate these teams. We're hoping we get that rub of the green that you need because we know we can compete with anyone. so we'll drive on and see how far we can get.”