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Dublin: 12°C Saturday 19 September 2020

'Why would you want fewer scores?' - Horgan shuts down argument sliotars are too light

Cork’s all-time leading scorer Patrick Horgan says it “doesn’t make any sense”.

Cork forward Patrick Horgan.
Cork forward Patrick Horgan.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

THE CALLS FOR a heavier sliotar to be introduced into hurling have grown louder over the past 12 months, but one of the finest ball-strikers in the game doesn’t agree.

Former All-Ireland winning Tipperary manager Babs Keating has been beating this particular drum for almost a decade.

As the scoring rates in inter-county games continue to soar, many former players and pundits are rowing in behind the idea that the ball is too light. 

Cork forward Patrick Horgan, who regularly slots over frees from inside his own half, believes there’s no need for the weight of the sliotar ball to be messed with.

“All them fellas are only jealous,” he says. “I don’t know what the aul fellas are at, why would you want fewer scores in the match? I can’t understand that, why would you want the heavier ball?

“The game has changed. The boys’ bas was (small). The hurleys are different, everything is different. I don’t know why people want to go backwards.

“That’s never the way in anything, in business – why would anyone want to go back? It doesn’t make any sense to me. Keep the balls the way they are.

“There’s fellas, swinging the hurley a lot faster than before. If you had the same sliotar that they used however many years ago, we’d strike it further than them now.”

PwC GAA / GPA Player of the Month for May PwC GAA/GPA Player of the Month for May, Cork hurler Patrick Horgan, was at PwC offices in Dublin today to pick up their respective awards. Source: Eóin Noonan/SPORTSFILE

Cork’s all-time leading scorer admits his team would “be gutted” if they didn’t deliver the All-Ireland title this year, but their focus remains on the Waterford clash this weekend.

Cork fell to Tipperary by seven points in the opening round but recovered to defeat All-Ireland champions Limerick by 1-26 to 1-19 the following weekend.

The Deise are already out of contention to advance from Munster, but Horgan expects a backlash from Paraic Fanning’s side at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday evening. 

“If you take it back to where we are now, we’ve a game Saturday, if we lose that, talks of an All-Ireland are completely gone,” he says. “How could you look past that?

“Qualifying in Munster is torture as well because every team is so competitive. There’s going to be two teams who stop playing in two weeks time. Probably both teams are capable of going to an All-Ireland final.

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“You saw Waterford there, got to the final two years ago and haven’t qualified out of Munster since. That will tell you how hard it is and we know they’re a serious team and how good they can be.

“So before any big talks down the line, there is so much to be done before that. If we think past that, we’re in big trouble.”

The Glen Rovers ace has fired 1-23 in his opening two championship games and admits its enjoyable to play alongside such quality players in the Rebels attack.

“To be fair, we have an unbelievable selection of forwards. It’s unreal to have Alan (Cadogan) back in as well. Unfortunately, (Conor) Lehane had got injured for him to come on. 

“The movement and pace from the selection we have is frightening. We have fellas on the line that you’d look at and say, ‘How aren’t you playing?’

Patrick Horgan celebrates scoring his sides goal Patrick Horgan celebrates scoring his side's goal against Limerick. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“That’s a good place to be going forward. Against Limerick, we brought on three or four subs and every one of them came on and did the job exactly how they were supposed to; we got a return from them. That’s the way forward. 

“Like all the forwards, we’re all there an hour, more, before training, all trying to get as much as each other done. It’s healthy environment that we go into. Either everyone’s getting better… If someone falls off, they might not be around too long. That’s the kind of mindset that you need to get better all the time and that’s where we’re at.

“You’re either going one way or the other. If you’re not trying to get better then you’re getting worse.

“The talent that has come through from our U21s the last couple of years and the forwards we have anyway, it’s so competitive that falls asleep for a week and you’ll find yourself on the bench.” 

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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