Cork aim to build on last season's 'fluke'
Cork hurlers are determined to build on last year's Munster title, a success that was branded a "fluke" by many, according to Alan Cadogan.
"Last year we played Tipperary and people said it was a fluke, we played Waterford and a lot of people said it was a fluke, we played Clare and people said we were lucky to win a Munster title," says the jet-heeled forward.
"Then obviously we were beaten by Waterford, by a better team, and we could have no complaints.
"Everyone's goal is to win the All-Ireland but I think it was a positive year for us, we got something out of it. Kieran (Kingston) brought us to a new level and what we're trying to do is go from last year to this year.
"Unfortunately last year is all done and dusted; we were Munster champions but it's a new structure, new format, and all we're focused on now is the first game against Clare."
Looking beyond Sunday's Páirc Uí Chaoimh opener, Cadogan reckons "six or seven teams" can win the All-Ireland and it's clear that he views Cork, now under John Meyler, to be among them.
But the perception that Cork got lucky last year may date back to how they "just didn't perform" against Wexford in 2016 . "They hurled us off the park," Cadogan recalls.
"We knew ourselves we had a bit if soul-searching to do over the winter and last year was a positive year. Obviously we didn't get to where we wanted to be, but we are just trying to build on that each year."
The younger Cadogan has been delighted to welcome back big brother Eoin from the Cork footballers this season - but this one-time underage football star won't be going in the opposite direction any time soon.
"I'm 25 this week and I'm at an age where this is your peak years," he explains.
"The years don't be long going, and the dual thing is ruled out really ... this year it's week in, week out so I don't think playing both is an option. I've stuck with the hurlers so, to be honest, I'm just thinking about the hurlers for the future."