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Saturday 24 August 2019

Horgan - no looking back

DEADLY DUO: PwC GAA/GPA Players of the Month for May, Cavan footballer Martin Reilly (right) and Cork hurler Patrick Horgan. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
DEADLY DUO: PwC GAA/GPA Players of the Month for May, Cavan footballer Martin Reilly (right) and Cork hurler Patrick Horgan. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Last year, Patrick Horgan overtook Christy Ring's scoring record for Cork.

A fortnight ago, his manger John Meyler described the Cork sharpshooter as an 'artist' and name-checked Lionel Messi after his brilliant goal against Limerick. And last weekend, Horgan's tally for Cork soared through the 400-point mark to take him deeper into the hurling's all-time great scoring feats.

For the most part, talk of records and favourable comparisons pass him by. He didn't know he'd overtaken Ring's record until after the fact and it was the same last weekend when he went through the 400 mark in championship.

That feat put put him within touching distance of Eddie Keher and Eoin Kelly.

delighted

"Yeah, jeez, that would be a real big deal to be honest," Horgan said as he was named GAA/GPA Player of the Month for June. "Just because I think that Eoin Kelly is the best that ever played.

"Yeah, he's the best. It's changed as well. The scoring has gone a lot higher in games in the last few years. But yeah, j it's something I'd be delighted if it ever happened...I'm delighted as it is."

Kelly in his pomp holds a special place in Horgan's memory.

"Just because of what he was able to do, the scores he could get, the touch, the striking. There's not much else you can do. He had it, you know?"

"Passing (Ring) last year was huge, obviously in Cork because going into first spot in scoring is nearly mad to think it.

"It'll be big when I've stopped playing. I don't know when that will be but when I do it's something that will be nice to look back to and say, "I have that record" or whatever.

"But until then, I'll try to get another 400 if I can," he smiled.

Outside of all the personal praise, Horgan will get on with the business of trying to win an All-Ireland with Cork. The county have won Liam MacCarthy in every decade but this is their last chance to sustain that record. An opening round defeat at home to Tipperary, meant Cork went into their second game with Limerick with their backs to the wall.

"The year (was on the line)," he replied, when asked what was at stake in that Limerick clash. "The whole year, basically. We know how tough it is. Being beaten by Tipp and then going up to play the All-Ireland champions, it doesn't sound easy.

"We knew we had confidence to play them because we'd been competitive in previous outings against them. At half-time, it was nip and tuck. In the second half - I don't know how it happened - we just went into a lead, got a goal, and didn't look back."

What about getting his hands on an elusive All-Ireland medal? He's seen seasons take too many twists and turns to give that sort of talk any credence at this stage of the season.

"I know how competitive hurling is at the moment. In Munster, there's five teams, only three can come through. Any five of those could win the All-Ireland, never mind going through to the top three out of five scenario.

"So nothing is guaranteed. It's more competitive than it's ever been, that's a fact.

"Then, if you're lucky enough to get out, you have to go and play teams from Leinster, which gets tougher again. There's nothing easy, nothing will be handed to you. It just needs to be your day."

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