The Grand Slam-winning prop experienced some fine highs in the provincial cup during his playing days but thinks it has lost its shape and structure in recent years, and with that, its attraction.
As the 39-year-old puts it: “We have a situation where if you win, you don’t know when the next round is. The cruel thing for me is, I’ve been part of those days. I have Munster Senior Cup medals up there with my Heineken Cup medals as regards memories and the importance of them.
“I think the shine has been taken out of it a small bit the way it’s been on different times of the year. It’s dropped in between AIL games now and it has lost its lustre.
“If you can’t tell clubs when the next round is when you win a game, how can you plan your season? .
“I’d be lying if I was glossing this up. Young Munster v Shannon brings its own bit of excitement but the Senior Cup itself, it has gone down a lot in people’s calendar.”
Another former Munster front-rower, Ger Slattery, is Young Munster’s assistant coach. He takes a more upbeat approach to Horan. While he acknowledged Munster’s oldest competition doesn’t hold the same significance, he is looking forward to seeing the Cookies take on Shannon.
“There’s a big rivalry between the clubs and fans. You notice it around Limerick, speaking to a couple of people, there’s a bit of a bite there.
“I understand why people think it [the competition] has lost its touch but from a Limerick view, medals are a bit scarce. We haven’t won it since 2010 and Con won it the last four years. From that point of view, our lads are hungry to get a medal, not many of them have one..
“You take into account that there is a British & Irish Cup game this weekend so both teams will be missing players. To be fair to the provinces they’ve organised the B&I Cup games so that they don’t clash with the Ulster Bank League. It was going to clash with something, it just happened to be Senior Cup.”
UCC’s head coach David O’Mahony also noted the decay of the competition, but sees today’s quarter-final against Cashel as a chance for young players to “stake their claim” in the team, after four physically demanding rounds in Division 1B.
“It’s a competition with a lot of history and we haven’t won it since 1981. Now, the competition doesn’t have the same allure or attraction since the AIL and professionalism started but it’s still a competition.
“We’re hoping to go through to the next round, which isn’t until later on in the year. That suits us because we have a lot of league games coming up.”