ONE man who won’t be involved for Cork against Waterford in Saturday’s Munster SHC semi-final in Thurles is Eoin Cadogan, but the Douglas man is hopeful of a swift return.
Following his club’s quarter-final defeat to Blackrock in the quarter-final of the Co-op SuperStores Premier SHC, Cadogan underwent a small procedure on his back and, while he is back in training, he won’t be able to tog out for Cork’s first championship match since the All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Kilkenny in July of last year.
‘I was probably carrying it a small bit through the Cork club championship,’ he says.
‘Obviously, with us being knocked out at the quarter-final stage, we felt it was a chance to nip it in the bud, really.
‘We were beaten Sunday, I met the surgeon Monday and was operated on Tuesday, so it was quite a quick process. It was a small procedure and I’m back in training now but the Waterford game is probably just a small bit too soon.
‘I’m building up my pitch-time. This is inter-county hurling, you can’t just throw yourself off the couch and into a Munster championship game so I’m very happy with how the progress has been going so far, it’s all good.
‘Obviously, it’s very disappointing not to be involved this weekend but there lies the opportunity for somebody else. I just want Cork to win and that whoever gets to play plays well.’
During the condensed county championships, Cadogan opted to only play hurling for Douglas, which he admits was a tough decision, but overall he was pleased with the format.
‘This was probably my first year not playing senior football with Douglas out of 18 or 19 seasons,’ he says.
‘I had just made the call at the start that I was going to focus on club hurling, just with the volume of games that were coming thick and fast. I wanted to give myself the best opportunity and, being joint-captain of the hurling team with Mark Harrington, I felt it would sit better with me.
‘I really enjoyed the championship this year. There was no in-and-out in the middle of April, no “Will we have you, won’t we have you?” or depending on when Cork were beaten.
‘We knew exactly what our dates were and prepared accordingly. There was actually a bit more of a fun element to it because the certainty was there for myself but also for my team-mates.
‘Ultimately, all players or management ever wanted was clarity. In terms of it being a successful year, it’s never really a success unless you ultimately win.
‘Blackrock obviously went on and did it, they’re a fine team, we were beaten by them in a quarter-final.
We made progress but there’s definitely plenty that we need to learn from this year and hopefully build on in 2021.’
Cadogan is 34 since the start of September and first played senior football for Cork in 2007, lining out for the hurlers for the first time in 2008. Despite the advancing years, he doesn’t find things harder from a physical point of view.
‘It doesn’t get any more difficult when you’re over 30 compared to when you’re 25,’ he says.
‘If anything, it gets easier because there’s now a huge amount of education out there from a strength and conditioning perspective and a physiotherapy perspective.
‘I’ve learned to look after much better over the last few years and the data doesn’t lie so it’s always good to stick it to the younger fellas!’
Ultimately, he’s just delighted to have a chance to be involved in the 2020 championship, given everything else that has gone on this year. While there have been issues since the return of inter-county action, he accepts that they are almost to be expected but is happy that Cork are doing everything that they can.
‘Not everything is going to go smoothly across the board,’ he says.
‘Some teams have been hit worse than others. Dave Nolan has been our Covid officer as well as Dr Con and Colm Murphy and they’ve been doing an outstanding job.
‘I don’t want to jinx them in the week of championship but things have been top-notch. Players have been coming togged and we’ve have video sessions outside on the wall in Páirc Uí Rinn and Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
‘We’ve been doing everything to the letter of the law and I’m extremely comfortable being in that kind of environment where our standards are extremely high, on and off the pitch.’