Cadogan not worried about Cork’s Croke Park hoodoo

Cadogan not worried about Cork’s Croke Park hoodoo
Eoin Cadogan admits Cork are fortunate to still be in the hunt for All-Ireland glory after a patchy provincial campaign. Pic: Lorraine O’Sullivan

Eoin Cadogan is not reading anything into Cork’s poor Croke Park record as they prime themselves to faceKilkenny at GAA Headquarters on Sunday.

Although manager John Meyler accepts the group have “a few wrongs to rectify” having lost back-to-back All-Ireland semi-finals at the venue, his full-back doesn’t believe there is much to take from the county not having won any of their last five Championship matches there, a run that goes back to the 2013 semi-final win over Dublin.

“I didn’t realise that,” admitted Cadogan of the county’s Croke Park form.

“All these things, they’re all superstitions to a certain degree. 2013, 2019, the circumstances are massively different. I don’t think that’s massively relevant to us at this moment in time. We don’t care where we play, we just want to go and play and hopefully we can go out and put out a solid performance.”

Likewise, Cadogan is loathe to glean anything from Cork pulling off their first win over Kilkenny in Nowlan Park in 32 years in the counties’ meaningless relegation play-off back in March.

“Kilkenny don’t ever worry about what’s going on in January, February, March or April — they’re only ever worried about Championship. They’ve a serious bunch of lads. Their age profile is quite young if you look at it and they will have learned a huge amount from the Wexford game (their Leinster final defeat) as well.

“I’m sure there were aspects of their game that they felt if one or two breaks had gone their way like that crossfield ball that was intercepted it would have been a complete game-changer.

The margins are so small now that it’s very hard to call for any team and we really can only focus on ourselves at this stage.

After a patchy Munster campaign, the 32-year-old appreciates Cork were fortunate to qualify for the All-Ireland SHC but they intend on making the most of it.

“I think we got lucky, to be honest with you. Tipperary probably did us a favour on the day (when beating Limerick) without them knowing it.

"We never want to leave our fate in any other county’s hands and that day we didn’t perform the way we wanted to.

“The (stormy) conditions were the same for Clare. There were certain aspects of our game that we wouldn’t have been happy with and the last three weeks we have had the opportunity to address them.

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"We know the challenge facing us with Kilkenny this weekend. They’re hurting from that Leinster final, there’s a fierce tradition between us and we will need to be on top, top form to be able to compete with them.”

Cork’s total of 1-40 not to mention the strength of the starting team put out by Meyler demonstrated just how seriously they treated Westmeath on Sunday.

“We came up with the train of thought that we wanted to treat Westmeath the same as we would any of the other teams left in the Championship, and we felt if we did that we would put a performance together. We wanted to play our own game and work on a couple of specifics and we got the job done.

"The management had the opportunity to run the bench there, which was a big help. Get boys off who were doing a lot of work around the middle eight. It was about being consistent and I think we got through it injury-free, which was the most important thing.”

Cadogan felt Westmeath would have been stiffer competition with an extra week’s break from losing the Joe McDonagh Cup final.

“I do think it’s very unfair in the sense that Westmeath had to play last weekend. It’s not feasible on the body.

We were in the qualifiers two or three years ago after a Munster football final and we were back out six days later against Kildare. It’s very hard to pick yourselves up after a loss, or even to bring yourself down after a win that quickly.

“In terms of timeframe, definitely two weeks would be a sufficient amount of time for people to enjoy a win or get over a loss and get themselves ready for it again.”

The former dual player was naturally thrilled to see the county footballers also reach the All-Ireland quarter-final stage with an impressive win over Laois on Saturday.

“I know a lot of those guys on that team and a huge amount of new fellas have come in too and the overriding consensus among the group is that they want to work for each other.

“They put out a very professional performance against Laois in a scenario when they were coming off a Munster final defeat but there was no hangover.

"It’s massive progress for them and I know that group and I know the management will go into the Dublin game with huge hope and optimism of implementing their own plan and seeing where that takes them.”

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