Alan Cadogan announced himself to the hurling world with a Man of the Match performance on his Championship debut in 2014 and went on to be nominated for an All-Star which he narrowly and perhaps wrongly lost out on. It came as no surprise to those that had been keeping tabs on ascension. Corkonians had witnessed him blossom at both codes at U21 level and knew they had a future star in their midst. A Munster hurling title would follow in his debut year and again in 2017 but the holy grail still eludes him, not for the lack of his ambition however. He has faced the adversity of dreaded knee injuries head on, and from speaking to him, it has only amplified his hunger for success. This week we went ClubSpotting to Douglas GAA Club with Alan Cadogan.
1. What are your first memories of your club Douglas?
I have many fond memories of my club Douglas. Some of my earliest ones are at age 6 when my parents brought me down to Street Leagues every Friday evening during the winter and every Saturday morning during the summer. How Douglas did it was that you were put on a county team and you played a number of other counties each weekend and in a league format. I could have stayed there for hours playing as I loved it so much. I can vaguely remember not being the most coordinated at hurling and football as each time I tried to strike or kick the ball I did a drop shot leaving the ball hit the ground first and then try hit it. I used to drive the coaches mad! I particularly loved the street leagues final days when we marched through Douglas Village behind the pipe band feeling like it was All-Ireland final as I thought it was the most important day ever. Now, If I were to go down to the club on a Saturday morning our pitches are filled with hundreds of kids learning the skills of hurling and football just like I did at their age which is great to see.
2. Who were your sporting idols idols growing up?
I suppose I had many idols growing up and many who I looked up to. At a young age all I wanted to do was to play for Cork. I was particularly lucky that my brother Eoin was involved with Cork when I was about 16 so it gave me an opportunity to see what it took to play at the highest level. Himself, Donal Óg Cusack and Sean Óg O hAilpín were kind enough to allow me to tag along for a few ball alley sessions that they did in Rochestown. These lads were players that I looked up to and it really opened my eyes to the professionalism, standards and dedication that the three of them brought to the game. I believed these sessions helped shape the person I am today and the standards that I set for myself. I will always remember the hurling drills/ball alley games we used to do where their mantra was that even though I was only 16 years old that there is “no mercy on him” meaning that you are now training with us so don’t think for a second we're going to take it easy on you. This is something that really stuck out for me in those sessions and certainly improved me as a player. Being a forward the likes of Ben O Connor and Joe Deane were great players and players who I would watch closely to see what I could learn from them. They had unbelievable skill levels.
3. What has been the proudest moment of your playing career?
I have had many proudest moments but there is a few that stick out in my mind. The first is making my championship debut against Waterford in 2014 in Thurles and then going on to beat Limerick in the Munster Final down in Pairc Uí Chaoímh which was ironically the last inter county game to be played there before the redevelopment of the stadium. Finally, 2017 Munster Final against Clare on a sunny day in Thurles. We were coming off the back of a poor 2016 championship and nobody gave us a chance that year, but it was great day for myself personally and the Cork supporters.
4. Who is the toughest opponent you have faced?
There have been a few down through the years but probably Noel Connors from Waterford was always a tough opponent. A strong, tight corner back that would not give you an inch and always seemed to get a flick in at the very last second. Any day he was marking you, you knew it was going to be a tough day out. Great respect for him as an opponent.
5. Best Player you have played with?
I have played with many great players down through the years but as a forward I would have to say Patrick Horgan. He is a player that you are always learning from and trying to take any bits to improve your own game. He has a remarkable skill level and is always trying to improve.
6. Any pre game rituals or superstitions?
I wouldn’t be big into superstitions or anything like that, but I do have a few pre game rituals that I like to follow. I would place a big emphasis on my preparation on the week leading up to games like looking after the basics like sleep, hydration, nutrition and having all my gear ready. Having all these boxes ticked gives me confidence leading into games. On the day of a game, I have my own little routine like listening to music in the dressing, doing my own pre game band work and doing some visualisation which helps me get mentally prepared.
7. What are your hopes and ambitions for 2021?
My hopes and ambitions for 2021 is to have an injury free year and to enjoy my hurling as much as I can after our time out due to the circumstances of Covid-19. I also have the ambition to do my utmost in order to put Cork hurling in the best possible position to achieve success for 2021.
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