Patrick Horgan is still enjoying Cork journey
By Cian O'Connell
For Patrick Horgan enjoying the game is critical. There has to be joy in the journey. "It has to be number one really," the prolific Cork forward says about the enjoyment aspect.
"If you don't have it, what are you doing? If you're not enjoying something and you keep doing it I think that is a bit crazy.
"It is something I always love doing, getting the gear ready, going training early, just working on trying to become a better player, chat to the lads, what are they working on?
"Certain things they do, how does that help their game? It is all very interesting stuff, it is something I'm in love with - that preparation side of it. If you don't enjoy it you're not going to get the full benefit out of it really."
Whether with Glen Rovers or on the inter-county stage Horgan relishes learning and assisting others. How does that occur? "Yeah, it just happens naturally," Horgan responds.
"Believe me it is not all one way, we have a lot of really serious players that I love picking up a couple of things from every night.
"A little question here and a question there, if you see them doing the same thing a few times there is a reason they are doing that and they are getting success.
"That could be anything, I don't know what it could be, it could be anything, but it is good to have a conversation. They might ask you a question - the same thing. There is no I'm not telling this or not telling that, we are all on the same team, we are all looking for the same goals. We talk, we chat things out, we all try to get better."
Following an encouraging Munster Hurling League victory under new manager Pat Ryan, Cork bring plenty of optimism into the Allianz Hurling League.
Saturday evening's opener against All-Ireland champions Limerick at Páirc Uí Chaoimh is an attractive fixture. "The Cork crowd will always come down to the Park and especially now that Limerick are there, there'll be a nice crowd there, yeah and I suppose, we'll give it all we can really," Horgan says.
"That's what we've been doing so far in training and in the Munster League. We just give our max-effort. After that, a game takes on a life of its own and we just fight as long as we can."
Ryan's impressive work with underage teams means talented players are being integrated into the senior panel.
Horgan, though, acknowledges that it is important not to expect too much of the young hurlers.“100 per cent, that’s just the way that a panel works," Horgan says.
"They come onto the panel and there’s nothing expected of them really. We all know the talent that is in our dressing room from the older fellas, the middle-aged and even younger fellas.
"We all just go in and we know that everybody is really skilled, strong and fit, it’s just a case of when you come in you give your all and everybody does that. You can’t ask for any more then."
Horgan is ready, willing, and able to deliver for Cork again in 2023.