Eoin Cadogan has intimated he is unlikely to return to playing both football and hurling for Cork.
The former dual player, a doubt for this Saturday’s Munster SFC quarter-final as he returns from an Achilles injury, made the decision in January to commit to the footballers solely this season.
He insists it was never simply a case of opting for the team with the better chance of winning an All-Ireland title.
Quizzed as to whether he may split his commitments again, Cadogan said: “I suppose, look, it’s difficult to say that. I’m 26 now and I can only kind of focus... I always said it was week by week when I was playing both because you have a different focus, always changing.
“My focus this year is on football and playing hurling and football with my club, so I’m not really going to look outside the box too much, just see really how the year goes.”
Jimmy Barry-Murphy suggested Cadogan’s mind may have been swayed by the footballers’ potential of winning a second All-Ireland title in four seasons.
However, Cadogan, who queried the hurling manager’s decision to axe Dónal Óg Cusack from the panel in February, dismisses that suggestion.
“Ah, I don’t think it’s as simple as that. I think any team that goes out, whatever county you’re from, be it hurling or football, goes out with aspirations of winning the provincial title and hopefully pushing on.
“If you didn’t have those aspirations or goals set for yourself, I don’t think you’d be wearing an inter-county jersey. So I don’t think it’s any different for the hurlers. You look at the likes of Kilkenny and Tipperary, Galway, they’ve probably set the bar over the last couple of years and it’s about getting up there and competing with those guys.”
Cadogan factored his good form in defence with the footballers last year into his decision at the start of the season.
“Last year, probably my football year went a little bit better and that was probably one of the reasons why I would have picked it,” he said.
“There’s a side to it where you just have to be selfish in your own approach. It’s physically a pretty tough schedule when you’re playing both and in saying that, I’m probably doing more training this year if that makes any sense because, as fellas say to me, there’s no skiving off on Tuesday night because you’ve played a [hurling] game on Sunday.
“So you’re actually probably training harder, if you ask me, playing the one code because you’re committing so much more to it.
“I always found when you were playing the two of them that you might go out and have a poor game in hurling and park it there because you’re focusing solely on football the following week.”
He’s not sure what could be done to help more players line out for both county teams but has considered what Cork’s footballers might have been like had they the hurlers.
“It’s probably difficult to accommodate a few guys who play both and if you do, does everyone else suffer as a consequence?
“Look at the last few years from a Cork point of view or a football point of view. John Gardiner was an excellent footballer, Tom Kenny, Seán Óg [Ó hAilpín] too. It was always that the hurlers didn’t go to play football but if you swung it the other way, you’d wonder what the football set up would have been like.”
Damien Cahalane has gone the same way as Cadogan, opting for the footballers exclusively this year and may replace him in the team to face Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds.
Cadogan pays little mind to the fact Cork aren’t being spoken of a lot as All-Ireland contenders. It comes after a quiet league campaign in comparison to previous successful ones under Conor Counihan.
“I think we probably learned a lot, found a couple of good guys so overall I think it was as successful enough league without getting to the final.”
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