The dilemma of being a dual player is something Alan Cadogan knows only too well after missing out on a Sigerson Cup medal this year.
Having discussed it with his family, including older brother and seniordual star Eoin, the Arts student elected to focus on hurling solely with UCC while lining out for the county’s senior hurlers, with whom he has sparkled, and the county’s U21 footballers.
“It’s like a Lotto when you’re buying a ticket,” he says. “That’s the way I look at it. I’m happy enough to play hurling with UCC. Mark Sugrue was the same. I’m a year behind him, he discussed it with me and he opted to play hurling as well.”
Cadogan and Sugrue line out in Cork’s forward line for tomorrow’s Cadbury’s U21 Munster FC final against Tipperary, and he’s glad for Jimmy Barry-Murphy and Seán Hayes to take decisions about availability out of his hands as he combines the codes.
Having an elder sibling pass on words of wisdom helps too. “Eoin’s very good to talk to. If I’m doing too little during the week or too much during the week, he talks to me and guides me in the right direction. I’m lucky enough that way compared to fellas in other counties and in that aspect. People hear the word ‘dual player’ and think you’re out six orseven nights a week. That’s not the case. It’s the extra stuff that you do in recovery that makes the difference.”
Eoin wasn’t on the senior hurling panel at Alan’s age but has told him to remain focused on the U21 for the moment.
Alan’s heard Dónal Óg Cusack’s advice to Eoin that performing to optimum levels in both codes is impossible but he makes the point he’s not yet senior.
“I sat down with the managers to suss it out and said my main priority was Fitzgibbon Cup hurling with UCC and U21 football with Cork. Jimmy and the lads all worked it out.”
Cadogan came in as a late starting replacement for Cathal Vaughan in the build-up to the Kerry game (quarter-final), and he’s hoping to add a second provincial U21 medal having been on the side that beat opponents Tipperary in Thurles last year. Cork are favourites again in Páirc Uí Rinn but he knows what it’s like having the dangers of that tag, having been on the beaten 2011 Munster final team in Killarney.
“Eight or nine years ago, you might have said Tipperary football was going nowhere but that’s certainly not the case now. You can see from their success, they won the minor three years ago and there was only a kick of a ball in it in Thurles last year. So we’re under no illusions about the challenge.”
The GAA also confirmed details of the All-Ireland U21 football semi-finals, which will be played on April 19. Leinster champions Dublin and Connacht winners Roscommon are already through to the semi-finals, while the identity of the teams to progress from Munster and Ulster will be decided tomorrow night.
Cork play Tipperary in the Munster final and Cavan face Donegal in the Ulster decider.
Saturday, April 19: If Cork v Roscommon, Portlaoise, 3pm (Live on TG4) Or Tipperary v Roscommon, Tullamore, 3pm (Live on TG4). If Donegal v Dublin, Kingspan Breffni Park, 4.45pm (Live on TG4) Or Cavan v Dublin, Tullamore/Portlaoise*, 4.45pm. *Double header with Cork v Roscommon or Tipperary v Roscommon.