Croke Park semi-finals an unhappy hunting ground for Patrick Horgan

This Sunday, Patrick Horgan will be looking to tackle a trifecta of obstacles that have largely thwarted him during his 14 senior seasons with Cork.
Croke Park semi-finals an unhappy hunting ground for Patrick Horgan

Patrick Horgan: The hurler who former manager John Meyler maintained Cork ‘owed an All-Ireland’, knows only too well how difficult Croke Park semi-finals are to win. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

All-Ireland semi-finals, Croke Park and Kilkenny.

This Sunday, Patrick Horgan will be looking to tackle a trifecta of obstacles that have largely thwarted him during his 14 senior seasons with Cork.

On just one occasion has Horgan been on the winning side at this stage — that in the victory against Dublin in 2013.

That was one of just two wins in SHC in Croke Park, the other being the 2010 quarter-final against Antrim.

His only championship victory against Kilkenny came in Semple Stadium in their quarter-final eight years ago when Henry Shefflin was dismissed for two yellow cards.

The 3-10 he amassed against Kilkenny in the quarter-final in Dublin two years ago was not enough to put down the Cats and so it was that Cork’s losing record at the Jones Road venue increased to five games going back to 2013, a winless streak that stretches to six including that year’s final draw with Clare.

As Cork have broken from the past with scorelines and back-to-back wins these last couple of games, such history is unlikely to daunt this youthful group.

But their elder statesman, the hurler who former manager John Meyler maintained Cork “owed an All-Ireland”, knows only too well how difficult Croke Park semi-finals are to win:

  • 2018: Limerick 3-32 Cork 2-31 (aet).
  • Tally: 1-11, 1-9 frees.

But for Nickie Quaid’s intervention to deny Seamus Harnedy, things could have had a much happier ending for the Rebels. Thereafter Cork blew a six-point lead with eight minutes of normal time remaining to lose a third straight All-Ireland semi-final. Horgan’s goal from a free was little consolation.

  • 2017: Waterford 4-19 Cork 0-20.
  • Tally: 0-12, 7 frees.

Having been immense for Cork, Horgan didn’t finish this game as a result of a straight red card close to the end. Kieran Kingston’s side were two points up when Damien Cahalane was shown a second yellow card in the 51st minute, Waterford hit them for two goals in the space of the minute and that was that.

  • 2014: Tipperary 2-18 Cork 1-11.
  • Tally: 0-2, frees.

Emerging from the qualifiers, momentum was with Tipperary here on one of the most forgettable days for Cork hurling in Croke Park. Five weeks after beating Limerick to claim top honours in Munster, Cork were ring-rusty yet were only two points down at half-time. However, their wide count of 16 was to prove their undoing. Twice Darren Gleeson denied Horgan goals in the closing stages but the contest was long over by that stage.

  • 2013: Cork 1-24 Dublin 1-19.
  • Tally: 1-7, 5 frees.

A day Horgan will remember fondly not just for the result but how his 66th-minute goal was crucial in Cork progressing to their first All-Ireland final in seven years. Dublin will maintain the harsh dismissal of Ryan O’Dwyer for two bookable offences proved the difference, but as Cork led by a single point, it was Horgan’s ability to anticipate and beat Dublin goalkeeper Gary Maguire to flick to the net that won the game for Cork.

  • 2012: Galway 0-22 Cork 0-17.
  • Tally: 0-7, 6 frees.

Thanks to one of his half a dozen frees, the sides were level at 11 points apiece at half-time but Galway surged at the start of the second half. Cork’s reserves contributed to cut the gap but Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s side couldn’t push on with goal chances few and far between.

  • 2010: Kilkenny 3-22 Cork 0-19.
  • Tally: 0-6, 1 free, 1 penalty.

Despite Shefflin rupturing his cruciate and Brian Hogan breaking his collarbone in the first half, Kilkenny had enough in reserve having led by nine points when the former had to retire from the game. By half-time, the Cats were 13 up and to add insult to injury Horgan’s second-half penalty, which he won, was deflected over the bar.

  • 2008: Kilkenny 1-23 Cork 0-17.
  • Tally: 0-1.

Down eight points at half-time, an ageing Cork’s race was run at that stage against a Kilkenny team at the peak of their powers. The 20-year-old Horgan was replaced by Niall Ronan in the 62nd minute.

  • All-Ireland semi-final total: 2-46, 1-30 frees, 0-1 penalty.
  • Horgan’s All-Ireland SHC semi-final record: Played 7 Won 1 Drawn 0 Lost 6.
  • Horgan’s SHC record in Croke Park: Played 10 Won 2 Drawn 1 Lost 7.
  • Horgan’s SHC record v Kilkenny: Played 4 Won 1 Drawn 0 Lost 3.

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