Cats find old defiance to prolong brilliant Horgan’s agony

And so, 14 years becomes 15, one short of Cork’s longest spell without the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

Cats find old defiance to prolong brilliant Horgan’s agony

[team1]Kilkenny[/team1][score1]2-27[/score1][team2]Cork[/team2][score2]3-18[/score2][/score]

And so, 14 years becomes 15, one short of Cork’s longest spell without the Liam MacCarthy Cup.

And so, five becomes six, the number of matches the team has now gone without claiming a win in Croke Park.

And so, in the case of Patrick Horgan, 31 will be 32 by the time he togs out in next year’s Championship.

If Cork are to avoid Horgan joining that bittersweet pantheon of Carey, McGrath and Mullane, then something has to give.

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Both his manager, John Meyler, and his sidekick yesterday, Alan Cadogan, have spoken of the same, but it grows more ominous.

Yesterday, others did disappoint, but Horgan didn’t. There may have been a fresh-air attempt when he was presented with a rebound, as Eoin Murphy denied Cadogan a goal and he struck a couple of wides, but, once again, he lived up to his billing as the tragic hero.

There were those two first-half goals, but it was the completion of the hat-trick, in the 56th minute, bringing Cork to within three points and within sight of what would have been hurling larceny, that confirmed his status.

Rising and claiming that Robbie O’Flynn delivery, when Huw Lawlor appeared to have grabbed it, before soloing and netting, Horgan’s defiance couldn’t but be admired.

A Cadogan point followed, as did the Rebels’ chant, but Kilkenny posted three of the next four points.

Horgan stepped up with a couple of frees then, but four of the last six points were registered by Kilkenny substitutes.

Cadogan played his part, as did captain, Seamus Harnedy (at least in the first-half, when he was such an aerial threat), but the anonymity of Cork’s middle third for most of the second-half was an indictment.

In the time since Seán Óg Ó hAilpín walked up the Hogan Stand steps in 2005, Kilkenny have passed Cork to top the roll of honour and, yesterday, they prolonged their misery.

Not that it was so apparent in the first-half, when Cork’s 2-10 to 1-11 lead hardly flattered them, but Richie Hogan’s goal, just over a minute into the new period, was a taste of things to come.

Horgan did respond, with a free won by Cadogan, to level the game for a sixth occasion, yet what followed was utter domination by Kilkenny.

Pat Horgan celebrates scoring a goal. Photo: INPHO/Gary Carr
Pat Horgan celebrates scoring a goal. Photo: INPHO/Gary Carr

Three frees on the bounce by TJ Reid were as much a result of some savvy reshaping of Kilkenny’s middle as they were Cork’s fretting on their own puckout.

The Cats laid it on thick with another five, before Harnedy ended the hemorrhaging in the 54th minute.

Although that was the beginning of 1-3 without reply for Cork, Meyler had sensed doom.

“It was the goal that Richie got, just after half-time, just killed it, really, and they outscored us for about 10 or 15 minutes — it was 1-8 to 0-1 or something like that.

"We just couldn’t get the ball past midfield, past their half-back line, and the substitution of Tim O’Mahony started putting quicker ball into the full-forward line and we got back into it with Cads and Hoggy. It’s just disappointing.”

Five Cork scorers to Kilkenny’s 12 told a story almost as convincing as the scoreline and Meyler couldn’t disguise the burden that fell on Horgan’s and Cadogan’s shoulders.

It’s just typical Kilkenny. You know what you get, you know what’s coming.

"They will play whatever way you want and they introduced Walter (Walsh) and Bill Sheehan and they got a couple of critical scores, whereas, up at the top end, it was either Cadogan or Hoggy and we were depending on the two of them.”

There was obvious satisfaction for Cody in how his team obliterated Cork in the second-half, but in the context of their questionable finish to the Leinster final, the show of character after Cork’s mini-revival was most pleasing.

“It tested everybody. There’s no doubt about that. We were in a very good position — I don’t know, seven, eight points up — and, suddenly, everything changes and you’re back to three and that’s hurling, because you can never rest on your laurels, because eight points of a lead can just be wiped out so very quickly.

“And it was. You know, that’s a testing time for the players and a test of character and honesty and the ability to cope with whatever’s put in front of them.

"Thanks be to God, they stood tall and came out on top.

“That’s something that happens on the field. In Croke Park, it’s not communication from the sideline or anything like that.

It’s players taking on responsibility and doing whatever it takes as they see things unfolding — their willingness to keep going and keep going.

“They were the things that essentially swayed it for us today.”

Might it have been different had Cork pressed down harder when they were accelerating?

Possibly, but then there were moments, like Mark Ellis putting a sideline out over the line and Darragh Fitzgibbon’s poor decision-making following a storming run, that raised doubts about their capabilities.

Leinster final hangover and all, Kilkenny were out of sorts early on, as was evident when Harnedy, enjoying Nash’s wind-aided long deliveries, tore the middle of their defence asunder.

Paul Murphy’s foul on him earned Horgan a third-minute penalty, which commenced his hat-trick.

Kilkenny fluffed their lines for the second goal, in the 28th minute, when they outnumbered Cork, following a blockdown on Harnedy, only for the ball to go Daniel Kearney’s way and he supplied Fitzgibbon to set up Horgan.

From his knees, the Glen Rovers man delivered. Deliverance for him and Cork, though, remains beyond reach for yet another year.

Scorers for Kilkenny:

TJ Reid (0-10, frees); R Hogan (1-2); C Fennelly (1-1); W Walsh (0-3); B Ryan, C Fogarty, J Donnelly (0-2 each); B Sheehan, C Browne, A Mullen, R Leahy, E Murphy (free) (0-1 each).

Scorers for Cork:

P Horgan (3-10, 1-0 pen, 0-8 frees); A Cadogan (0-4); S Harnedy (0-2); M Coleman, D Fitzgibbon (0-1 each).

KILKENNY:

E Murphy; P Murphy, H Lawlor, J Holden; C Buckley, P Walsh, P Deegan; C Browne, C Fogarty; J Donnelly, TJ Reid (c), R Leahy; A Mullen, C. Fennelly, R Hogan.

Subs for Kilkenny:

W Walsh for Buckley (h-t); B Sheehan for Hogan (50); J Maher for Browne (57); B Ryan for Donnelly (63).

CORK:

A Nash; S O’Donoghue, E Cadogan, N O’Leary; M Ellis, S McDonnell, M Coleman; B Cooper, D Fitzgibbon; L Meade, C Lehane, D Kearney; A Cadogan, S Harnedy (c), P Horgan.

Subs for Cork:

R O’Flynn for Lehane (46); S Kingston for Kearney (47); T O’Mahony for Cooper (inj 50); D Cahalane for O’Donoghue (55); C Joyce for Meade (63).

Referee:

J Owens (Wexford).

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