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'The finger injury was a freak accident, it got caught in Sean O'Donoghue's bib, don't ask me how'

After fitness setbacks, Alan Cadogan is aiming to make his mark with the Cork hurlers.
Jun 27th 2019, 4:59 PM 12,063 3

IT’S FIVE YEARS since Alan Cadogan made his senior hurling breakthrough for Cork, seven years after his older brother Eoin had made his bow.

Yet it took until last month in the Gaelic Grounds for the pair to both line out together in a championship setting.  

Alan Cadogan Alan Cadgoan's return has been a major boost for the Cork hurlers. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Injuries and spells playing football meant it had never fallen neatly for the Douglas pair to be in action at opposite ends of the pitch in the summer for the Cork hurlers.

Six minutes in the younger brother was nudged into the game after Conor Lehane went off. The afternoon unfolded in a pleasing style with Eoin claiming the man-of-the-match award for his defensive work, Alan clipping over 0-3 from corner-forward and Cork back on track after defeating the reigning All-Ireland champions.

“He came back to play hurling last year and he says to me laughing that the one year he comes back then I’m out injured and then this year obviously, picking up niggles and stuff I wasn’t playing much league.

“So the Limerick game was probably the first time we were out on the field together so it’s good for us and a proud moment for my parents as well and for my club as well. Lining out with your sibling is always good. His last man-of-the-match in hurling was 2009 against Tipperary up in Thurles, that was his debut so he’s been waiting a while.”

Eoin Cadogan celebrates Eoin Cadogan celebrating Cork's victory over Limerick. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

When Cork and Limerick had previously crossed paths in the championship arena, the attacking Cadogan was a notable inclusion in the Cork warm-up in Croke Park last July. Sidelined since undergoing surgery on his knee in May, he had been in recovery mode yet it was never in the offing that he would make a dramatic comeback that day.

“Around the 20th of May last year, I got the surgery on my knee. It was a kind of thing which we were managing over maybe six-eight months. The patella tendon injuries are very common in GAA but it just got to a stage where the operation was the only thing.

“When I got it done then, the surgeon said it was 8-16 weeks. I togged off for Limerick, I warmed up but I was only number 27. The bottom line was that realistically I’d no chance of coming on. If we got over Limerick, then there was the possibility that I would have made the final but it wasn’t meant to be on the day.”

ACadogan Alan Cadogan was today at the launch of Leisureplex's 'Share Your Summer' campaign.

The frustrations mounted in the wake of Cork’s 2018 departure. He was primed for club fare with Douglas but they got knocked out in September. A succession of other ailments struck him down when he was trying to attack the 2019 season.

“I started my pre-season early in October, November so I was training and everything was going fine, I was picking up other injuries. The finger injury was a freak accident, it got caught in Sean O’Donoghue’s bib, don’t ask me how. A quad (injury) obviously against Tipperary in the league, a hamstring then a week before we played Tipp in the championship.

“So even though it wasn’t my knee, it was other parts of your body screaming out loud because you hadn’t played in so long. You’ve two choices, you either do the rehab and you’ll come back stronger or you don’t the rehab and you won’t come back and you’ll break down. 

“But luckily all that is put behind me. You saw against Limerick, I was probably in a position that I didn’t think I’d be coming on after six minutes. Unfortunately for Conor (Lehane) but one door closes, thankfully it opened up for me.”

Cadogan has seized his opportunity, amassing 1-9 from play over the course of Cork’s round-robin encounter with Limerick, Waterford and Clare. His single-minded approach to getting his knee right has been rewarded, opting to leave off games with the Douglas footballers at the end of last year to ensure he was primed for 2019.

Juggling both codes was ingrained in his sporting life growing up. He linked up with the Cork footballers in 2016 after the hurling season was halted but life as a dual player is not something on his radar.

Alan Cadogan and Sean Finn Alan Cadogan going up against Sean Finn in the Gaelic Grounds. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“When I was younger I played a lot and I played both at inter-county level but obviously last year picking up the injury I didn’t play much football with the club

“I don’t think so honestly (playing dual). I’m at that age now where I’m 26, it’s normally where you are in your peak years, so hurling will be the sole focus at the moment.

“To be fair to them (Cork footballers) they put up a good performance (last weekend). They could have come away with a win and you know it was good for the Cork public as well because they’ve been getting a lot of stick over the last number of weeks and month. It was nice to have an open, attacking game between Cork and Kerry rather than the defensive style.”

Cork will be bystanders rather than protagonists when the Munster trophy is handed out on Sunday, their championship swerving on a different course as they get set for All-Ireland assignments. First up it’s a novel clash with Laois or Westmeath.

“Thankfully the main objective was to qualify and the way we look at it, is it’s a new competition now. Munster’s done, obviously it would have been nice to finish in the top 2 and get to a Munster final.

“We know ourselves that things were good in the Munster Championship and then other aspects of our play and our performances weren’t up to scratch and that won’t do it in the All-Ireland series. The years do fly by and you have to embrace every challenge.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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