Cork attacker Alan Cadogan says he and his teammates aren’t stressed about the prospect of demotion from NHL Division 1A to the lower tier.
The Rebel hurlers take on Waterford this Sunday (Pairc Ui Rinn, 3pm) to determine which side will be in the lower tier next season, but Cadogan says facing into a relegation game won’t knock his side back.
“No, I don’t think so. If you look at Division 1A, any teams could be down fighting relegation. It’s not a place you want to be but we’re not looking at that. All we’re trying to do is get a performance every time we go out, blood a couple of new lads.
“It’s going to be a tough game next week but it’s one we’re looking forward to.
“Obviously it’s going to be very, very important. We’re not thinking that far ahead. We’ll have a chat about it. Waterford are a very good team and no-one wants to go down to Division 1B so it’s going to be a dogfight next week.”
The shadow hanging over all hurling teams this spring is the championship and its multiplicity of games, and Cadogan acknowledged that the new system will pose a different challenge to all sides. He’s looking forward to it, however — and to playing conditions improving as well.
“Yeah, it’s a different format this year and it’s hard to believe it’s only a few weeks away and we have to go back to the clubs as well. You don’t have that much time to prepare.
“There’s not much of a gap between the league and the championship. It’s new for everyone, for the players and management teams.
“I’m looking forward to the grounds getting a bit harder as well. It’s going to be a busy schedule for the next couple of weeks but it’s something we’re looking forward to.”
Cork go into this Sunday’s game on the back of a disappointing defeat to Tipperary last Sunday in Thurles. Cadogan and company finished the game with 1-21 but came up three points short against a dominant home side.
The Douglas clubman looked at the positives, however.
“It’s not the result we were looking for. We had to go up and win but Thurles is a tough place to go and play a good Tipp team.
“But overall I thought we performed quite well. There was just a patch there for about five or six minutes, Tipp got a point and then they got a goal. That goal killed us a small bit and we were trying to chase the game.
“Our main objective was to come up and win but from a performance point of view, I thought we performed quite well. Tipp are always going to go out and hurl with you and it was always going to be a high-scoring game. We have a lot to work on. We’re fighting relegation now with Waterford — another tough game but all we can do is regroup, take the positives from the game, and go back to training.”
Waterford selector Dan Shanahan, meanwhile, is wary of a Cork kickback on Sunday, after the Déise prevailed by five points in last month’s clash of the sides.
“It will be hard after getting a victory in Páirc Uí Chaoimh to go back up there again and get another victory against an exceptionally good Cork team. I’m not building up Cork, I know how good they are. They’ve forwards that’d get on any team in the country.
“They’ll be riled up. Remember the last time Cork were in a relegation battle against Galway above in Salthill, they weren’t expected to win and they won. We’re going into the lion’s den against a fantastic Cork team that’s been beaten and hurt. It’s going to be dog eat dog war but we’re looking forward to it.”
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