Patrick Horgan is exceptional. We know what he can do. He is a genuine lad but there is no room for sentiment. There was no room for sentiment for Ken McGrath or Tony Browne or any of these lads who have gone before and not won an All-Ireland.
Ciaran Whelan as a Dublin footballer the same. Ciaran McDonald as a Mayo footballer. There isn’t too much sentiment for guys like that. You are either lucky enough or not. Guys outside of Cork aren’t going to worry if Patrick Horgan has never won an All-Ireland.
It might be something that might plague him if it didn’t happen but, as a Cork man, it would be a travesty if a couple of them didn’t win one so they really need to push on now.
When you see guys talking about TJ Reid and Joe Canning and Aaron Gillane the last few years as the top three players, I can never understand how Patrick Horgan is not put in the top three in that conversation.
It does my head in.
He is continuously top of the scoring charts for Cork in the Championship, year in and year out. He’s there, what, 10 years at this stage. He is constantly performing at the top level and I just can’t understand it. Sometimes he doesn’t make the conversation on the top five hurlers.
Maybe that’s bias because I know what he is like on and off the field and as a lad. As a hurler, he is gifted.
Patrick needed a break
What fellas forget is that Patrick was hurling for the Glen late into the year every year. Glen Rovers have been very successful and he’d gone through five or six seasons without a break so he was going from inter-county back into his club right up nearly to December.
He was going from that right back into county training in December. There was no end to it, no break. He had become stale. No matter what sport you play, if you keep playing you will become stale so we took him out for a break that time and he didn’t react well to it.
I would be friendly with Patrick as much as anything else and it upset him. You tried to explain to him that it was for his own benefit, that it wasn’t that he was being dropped. He was being taken out to give him a chance to recover and get the hunger back.
Stephen McDonnell was always saying he was taking a year out for his own benefit for whatever he wanted to do. It was just a case of really to see did he want to go back in. What age is he now? 30, 31. Aidan Walsh 28, 29. I found that strange now, to be honest with you.
I found the Aidan Walsh one strange. When he left us initially after 2017, I remember I said to him that he was just starting to turn a corner. Now he’s further back in his development. It’s very hard to come in 28, 29 years of age and try to pick up where the game has got faster.
Cork must trust young players
You can only hold young players back for so long.
If you keep holding them back, they’re only going to get stale so I suppose it’s like a horse when he’s chomping at the bit: throw him in there and see how it goes. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
As Cork people, we have won an All-Ireland in every decade. It would be a shame if that goes. This is a massive year of all years. It’s the last year in the decade, so we want to protect our history and what’s gone before us by winning one this year.
Time is running out, rapidly. Hoggy, Lehane, Joycey, Harnedy, Nasher: there’s not too many more opportunities are going to come their way if it doesn’t come right over the next four to five months.