Alan Cadogan is looking forward to the 2019 season, having missed this year’s senior hurling championship due to a knee injury requiring surgery.
“All cleared up now,” said the Cork star yesterday.
“It was a different year to a certain extent, it came at me during the league and the situation became such that I had to have the surgery.
“Declan O’Sullivan (team physio and strength and conditioning coach) was monitoring it and I trained a week before the Clare game in the Munster championship round-robin — I had to train to get into contention — and I woke up one morning and couldn’t extend my leg fully.
I knew there was something seriously wrong and I had to get the surgery. Looking back now, it was the best thing, because I knew it couldn’t go on any longer. It was disappointing I missed out on the whole summer.
Contrary to rumours at the time, Cadogan was never a serious option to line-out against Limerick in the All-Ireland hurling semi-final.
“People see you running or jogging and think you’re back, but you’re not. With Declan’s expertise he made a call that I didn’t have enough work done before the Limerick game. At the time I was saying ‘would ye not put me on the panel’, and though it looked like I was, in reality I wasn’t actually on the panel, I was more there to help some of the younger lads in a second All-Ireland semi-final.
“But I wasn’t an option to come on. That wasn’t a possibility. But when you get to additional-time, extra-time, you start thinking, ‘is there five minutes in me, is there 10 minutes?’
“But it’s an All-Ireland semi-final. There’s nowhere to hide, it’s sink or swim and I didn’t have the work done. My fitness levels wouldn’t have been up to scratch.”
A talented dual player, the Douglas man decided not to play football this season in order to aid his recovery.
“Before we played the Barr’s in hurling I made my decision, it’s a completely different sport and I knew if I went back and relapsed it would have been terrible. No-one knows the work I’d have put in down in the gym in Páirc Uí Chaoimh over the previous 16, 17 weeks.
“I love playing football but if I’d hurt it then . . . maybe it was selfish but I made the call.”
The lengthy rehabilitation period was often challenging.
“The security guard in Páirc Uí Chaoimh could tell you how many times I was down in the summer working on rehab.
I could sum it up for you in two contrasting experiences. In 2017 I was the man-of-the-match in the Munster final, a great day and a great experience, but this year I took off with my parents straight down the road after the game and while the rest of the lads were out celebrating I was down in the gym rehabbing my knee.
“Those are the small things that would stick with you. Anyone who gets an injury will tell you about rehab that there are two choices. You can avoid the rehab, and you won’t come back fitter and stronger, or you can do it.
“It’s lonely, it’s tedious, the programme I was on was tedious enough but I knew I had to put the work in. I’m lucky as a teacher, I had the time to give to it, but however lonely it is, you have to give it the time if you want to get back.
“And now if I could do preseason in the morning for 2019, I would. You don’t realise what you have until it’s gone. I played the league games but I missed the championship games, so I more or less missed an inter-county season.”
Older brother and Cork teammate Eoin, who has a background in strength and conditioning, was a help to Cadogan. “He was, and so was Declan (O’Sullivan), they were very helpful all through with advice and monitoring.
“It was small steps, back walking and jogging, and thankfully I’m out the right side of it now.”