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Getting 'flaked' at training, and an All-Ireland winning brother set for another year with Cork at 33

Alan Cadogan says his brother Eoin is in great shape for the 2020 season.

CORK FORWARD ALAN Cadogan felt a bit agitated when he went to Croke Park recently.

eir-sport-allianz-leagues-fixtures-launch Cork hurler Alan Cadogan at the launch of eir Sport's 020 Allianz Leagues coverage. Source: Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

It was his first time in the stadium since his side’s All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Kilkenny last July. 

It’s not the first time Croke Park has been the setting of the Cork hurlers’ demise in recent seasons. That loss to the Cats followed on from their back-to-back All-Ireland semi-final exits in 2017 and 2018.

The start of the 2020 league campaign is just days away, but that first trip back to GAA headquarters was bound to invoke unpleasant feelings for Cadogan. 

“You think about it a lot, it was a disappointing end to the season,” says the Douglas man.

“It’s always hard to come back to the place where you were beat.”

Cadogan has endured plenty of hardship on the injury front. In May of 2018, he was forced to bow out of Cork’s championship campaign to undergo knee surgery. There was also a freak finger injury, along with problems affecting his quad and his hamstring.

He’s been sidelined again recently but Cadogan insists that it’s only a minor issue. A problem with his hip flexor is likely to just keep him out of the opening rounds of the National League.

“I picked up a bit of an injury playing with the club,” Cadogan explains ahead of Cork’s league opener against Waterford this Sunday.

“I went back playing football with the club last year just to keep the mind ticking over and just picked up a small injury but I should be fine for the league. Maybe miss one or two games but I’ll be fine. 

alan-cadogan-and-padraig-walsh Cadogan in action against Kilkenny during last year's All-Ireland quarter-final. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“I’d say my football days are coming to a bit of an end with the club. I’ll be fine for the league.”

The 26-year-old emphasises that he needs to complete a solid block of training on the way back to regaining his match fitness. And Cadogan encounters plenty of tough challenges during Cork’s in-house matches.

We always say at training that the hardest battle you have is the guy you’re gonna mark at training. A perfect example of that for me is Stephen McDonnell. We were only talking about this the other day that he flakes the shite out of me at training. He’s the most hands on corner-back we’ve ever had.”  

As Cadogan continues with that, he reports that his older brother Eoin is fully committed to another season with the Cork seniors.

Having won an All-Ireland with the Cork footballers in 2010, Eoin has been solely focused on playing the small ball game in recent years. And he looks to be in great shape for the new season, according to the younger sibling.

He’s giving it another year, he said. I’ve never seen him so fit and he’s really enjoying it. He has a very good pre-season under his belt for 33. But yeah, he enjoys it. Hurling is like an obsession in our household.

“You see a lot of GAA players stepping away from the game due to family, work commitments, their career etc. Being a teacher, I’m lucky enough that I have the time to do it. It’s an obsession. You want to be walking up the steps [of the Hogan Stand] to be collecting the Liam MacCarthy in August.”

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kieran-kingston-before-the-game Kieran Kingston is back at the helm with the Cork hurlers. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

The Cork hurlers have a familiar face at the helm this season. Kieran Kingston will take the reins this year after stepping away from the position in 2017.

Cadogan says that Kingston is back in the bainisteoir bib to finish what he started, and help Cork reach their first All-Ireland decider since 2013.

He was, Cadogan adds, the preferred candidate among the players when John Meyler announced his departure last year.

“He was the one we kind of wanted to go after and once Kieran himself showed that bit of interest, we knew he was the right fella for the job.

“We didn’t go to the county board and say we want Kieran Kingston. We expressed that we feel he would be the right fit then it is up to them. There’s intelligent people making those decisions, it’s such a demanding job being an inter-county manager.

“You know, he’s very good with players, he’s a people person. He’s a players favourite but at the same time very cut-throat. I think he described it as an itch that needed to be scratched and that there was unfinished business from 2017 when he stepped away.

Knowing Kieran, he’s not coming back just for the fun of it, he’s coming back to win an All-Ireland.”

eir Sport’s coverage kicks off on Saturday 25 January, with the home of Saturday night live GAA action broadcasting three matches across its channels.

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