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'He beat me to it by three minutes' - Hogan on losing Kilkenny hurling retirement race to Taggy

Brian Hogan talks retirement, his Kilkenny hurling career and his career highlight.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“BUSY DAY ALRIGHT but not work wise, I didn’t get a whole amount done. The phone nearly went into meltdown.”

Brian Hogan made the decision to call time on his days as a Kilkenny senior hurler yesterday after a brilliant career that saw him land seven All-Ireland senior medals. The deluge of phone calls and messages afterwards took him by surprise.

But as it turned out, he wasn’t the only Cats player to announce his retirement yesterday and attacker Aidan ‘Taggy’ Fogarty had swooped in first.

Aidan Fogarty and Brian Hogan celebrate after the game Aidan Fogarty and Brian Hogan celebrate the 2012 All-Ireland final replay win Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“It was funny that way things worked out. We’ve a chat group with all the players on the phone and I was sitting down to have the breakfast there this morning, formulate a few words and let the lads know.

“A text came through, I just happened to look at it and there was Taggy, message to all the boys. We didn’t know of course about each other. He beat me to it by three minutes. He dropped himself out of the group, so he didn’t know either and I’d to ring him then. The boys were saying they were afraid to read any more messages after that.”

David O'Callaghan is taken down for penalty by Brian Hogan and David Herity Brian Hogan in action in this year's Leinster hurling final Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The tributes started then to recognise Hogan’s career and he reflects on his days with the Cats here:

Deciding to retire…

“It was probably in the back of my mind before this year’s final. When the season was over and we were beaten with the club, I  felt that the time was right. I just wanted the couple of extra weeks to be sure because it’s been such a huge part of my life. It was a big decision. I’ve had a good innings and it’s probably best to just step away.”

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Early days with Kilkenny…

“I’ve been there since 2004. I came in really off the back of a strong club campaign. I was flying it and went straight into the team. It was a bit of naivety on my part, I didn’t know how many Leinster titles we’d won in a row and I just presumed that was the norm.

“In fairness Wexford had a game plan and caught us a sucker punch that year. It took me the guts of two years after that to get back in. It was a steep learning curve. But it made me appreciate it all the more when I did get back in and establish myself.”

Brian Hogan with Paul Carley Brian Hogan in action against Wexford in 2004. Source: INPHO

Ger Loughnane’s appraisal of Hogan…

“One of my favourite players of the present time is Brian Hogan. He is not fast, not skilful. But when Kilkenny’s need is at its greatest, Hogan will stand up at centre-back and defy anyone to beat him. That’s character.”

“I wasn’t sure what way to take that now! But I could understand what he was saying. I’d argue the point that maybe not the last year or two but certainly before that, I’d have regarded my speed as an asset. Certainly those instances in your career do build character when you do have to sit there and fight to get back in.

“I certainly made the choice that I was going to stick it out and fight tooth and nail to get what I wanted ultimately which was my dream. It’s for other people who hurled with me or managed me to determine the level of character. But for me it’s a great compliment for the likes of Ger Loughnane to be referencing that kind of quality with me. It’s something that I appreciate.”

Regrets about not playing in this year’s All-Ireland final replay…

Brian Hogan and Noel McGrath Brian Hogan in action for the last time for Kilkenny in the drawn All-Ireland final Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“I wouldn’t be human if there wasn’t a certain regret there. I’m as competitive as the next guy. Naturally I want to play every match. The only All-Ireland final I’d missed prior to that was 2010 and that was through injury. Ultimately I have to take a step back and it was only one match. Certainly over the course of my career, I can’t have many complaints. I’ve had a great innings.

Career Highlight…

Brian Hogan lifts the Liam McCarthy cup Brian Hogan lifts the Liam MacCarthy Cup. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“2011 personally was very special. It was special for myself, for my family and for the club. It was fantastic. But there’s other moments, maybe 2012 the first day where I didn’t start well in the first ten minutes and maybe then put in one of my stronger displays. Overall ultimately ’11 was personally the highlight for me.”

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Two Kilkenny hurlers and one from Tipp retire with 17 All-Ireland senior medals between them

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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