John ‘Blondie’ Horgan takes his final bow

Blackrock and Cork legend John Horgan, who died yesterday, was a member of the three-in-a-row All-Ireland winning senior hurling team of 1976-78 and was also an All-Ireland winner in his first season in 1970.

Also the winner of All-Ireland medals at minor, under-21 and club, he played in five successful Rockies teams in the county championship and was captain in the finals of 1971, ’73 and ’78, also leading them to All-Ireland club victories in each of those seasons.

Sometimes known as ‘Blondie Horgan’ but more so as ‘Hoggie’, he moved from the Passage club to Blackrock in 1968. Born in the city, he grew up in Rochestown. Author Declan Hassett in the club history ‘The Rockies’, points out that as a boy of six, his father - — who hurled with Blackrock — took him to the 1956 county final.

In his tribute (‘Hoggie’- shy superstar), Hassett recalled that as captain in 1971 (when Blackrock regained the championship after a lapse of 10 years), Horgan called for club and Cork legend Eudie Coughlan to hold the cup with him.

He was quick to make his mark with Cork, playing in three consecutive All-Ireland minor finals against Wexford, in 1966, ’67 and ’68, losing in two and picking up a medal in the 1967 decider. At U21 level, he enjoyed more success, winning medals in 1970 and 1971.

Joining the Cork senior squad during the league campaign of 1969/1970, he won the first of four medals the first year, with the others following in 1974 (when he was captain), 1980, and 1981.

He won the first of his four All-Ireland senior medals in his debut championship season and he went on to play in six successful provincial winning teams.

After Cork lost their All-Ireland title when beaten by Limerick in 1971, he was not involved the following year, when Cork got back to another final but lost in a classic to Kilkenny. And, after early exits in 1973 and 1974, he came on as a sub in the 1975 Munster final and was again brought off the bench against Galway (when the Rebels lost in an All-Ireland semi-final for the first time).

He was selected as an All Star on three occasions, in 1974, 1977 and 1978, when he was also honoured as the Texaco Hurler of the Year.

He was primarily known as a corner-back and he quickly established a big reputation. He also proved himself as a reliable distance free-taker and contributed important scores in leading games.

However, he also acquitted himself as a centre-back — in the 1971 defeat by Limerick, for instance — and in the winning Munster final against the same opposition in 1976.

Retiring after Cork lost to Clare in the 1981 Munster semi-final, he turned his hand to coaching on a limited scale. He was first involved with Blackrock in the early ’80s and was associated in later years with Castlelyons and Douglas.


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