"I don’t think there’s been a better Cork hurler than him, he's an artist"
Hoggie this, Hoggie that, the bottom line is Cork could do with a clone of him, or maybe even two.
The Glen Rovers forward brought the house down in Croke Park on Sunday afternoon with yet another jaw-dropping individual performance, yet it wasn't enough to bring Cork to another All-Ireland semi-final.
He didn't have enough help from those around him. Horgan, Cork's leading all-time championship scorer ended his afternoon with 3-10 to his name but the soul destroying fact for Rebel folk is that they only managed eight other points in 70 minutes.
One man is never going to beat Kilkenny.
And so the wait goes on. 11 years a Cork senior star, an All-Ireland medal still eludes the city magician and though he's at the very top of his game right now at 31, the opportunities to break that duck are running thinner by the year.
Three-time Celtic Cross winner Brian Corcoran was speaking to us on Monday - the simple fact that we introduced him by his All-Ireland medal tally shows the weight given to the 'All-Ireland winning' status in the game - yet Corcoran, the Erin's Own legend doesn't feel the lack of a medal will taint Hoggie's great legacy.
"Obviously an All-Ireland medal is great to have," says the Bord Gais ambassador.
"There was a Cork-Waterford charity game there a couple of months ago between the teams of 15/20 years ago. You were dealing with the Waterford lads, the likes of Ken McGrath, Dan Shanahan, Tony Brown and these guys who didn't win an All-Ireland when they were close so many times. Does that affect their legacy or make them lesser hurlers? Looking back on it I don't think so, they were still great players..."
And Corcoran rates Horgan as Cork's greatest and indeed, one of the greatest ever.
"People talk about Ring," he says.
"Obviously I didn’t see Ring, but in terms of artists, stick-work, skill, wrist work - I don’t think there’s been a better Cork hurler than him. Does he need an All-Ireland to prove that - obviously, it would be great for his sake but I still think he will go down as one of the best Cork players ever. There’s very few guys who can strike a ball as well as Patrick Horgan.
"Hoggie, coming from Cork. He’ll be very unfortunate that his career came in that 15 or 16 year period when Cork didn’t win an All-Ireland..."
Laois manager Eddie Brennan was similarly effusive in his praise for Horgan.
"The big thing that stands out, despite all the big narrative is really Pat Horgan's performance," said the Kilkenny man.
"You just say, 'What a player.' And equally, Kilkenny still managed to beat them. For someone like him, that whole thing of not winning an All-Ireland...I think it marks him out as one of the all-time greats. He's been doing it match-in, match-out for the last couple of years..."
Hearing stories about the great 31-year-old, you can take it for granted that he'll be doing everything within his power to ensure that he won't retire without an All-Ireland. But in order for it to happen, more Cork players will need to be unearthed and for more to stand, according to Corcoran with Alan Cadogan the only other forward who got some change out of the Cats.
"Bottom line from the display yesterday is that we’re too reliant on Patrick Horgan. Everyone is talking about what a great game he had and he had a fantastic game but if he wasn’t there, we would have been well beaten and that’s the problem..."
Cork lost in Croke Park but Patrick Horgan confirmed his status as one of the deadliest forwards ever to pick up a hurl 👏
Practicing his frees early in the morning, coaching youngsters in @GlenRovers_, piece on how his greatness is NO coincidence 👇https://t.co/JarLkA3y2U
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) July 14, 2019
"Alan Cadogan got four points yesterday and he’s come back from injury and he’s done a great job since he came back. Our full-forward line, they’ve been performing. The half-forward line, we’re not winning the puckouts at the start of the second half and that’s what Cork need to look at. Seamus Harnedy is obviously a target guy for high balls and puckouts but if Nash is looking to hit balls out, he’s got limited options and he obviously didn’t go for too many of the short puckouts yesterday.
One of the highlights of Horgan's performance was his second goal, a bullet to the back of Eoin Murphy's net struck while he balanced himself and moved from knee to knee.
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) July 14, 2019
Corcoran knows a thing or two about scoring from his knees, his against Limerick in the 2004 Munster semi-final one of the only ones that springs to mind, yet he maintains the strike from the knees isn't as difficult as it looks.
"I think if you put a 10-year-old out there and put them on their knees they'll hit the ball off their knees, there's nothing spectacular about hitting a ball off the knees. The Hoggie one yesterday, he didn't have time to do anything else. It was just quick thinking. If he got up he was going to be blocked but I think if you asked him if that was an incredibly difficult thing to do....Any hurler should be able to sit on a chair through the ball up and hit it. Even back in my day people were talking about that point off your knees, but I would say it was a very average...
"I mean it was 45 yards out and in front of the goal, you'd expect to get those. But from Hoggy's perspective yesterday, it wasn't the execution of the skill it was the awareness that he didn't have the time to do anything else. He didn't have time to get up or he'd have been smothered. It's that decision making to me that was most impressive about it. Likewise with the second goal (think he means the third?), it didn't look like he could catch that ball. The execution of it again, to me that was almost as good a goal as the one off the knees. He's a great player, he's an artist and he's going to be unfortunate if he retires without an All-Ireland, he definitely deserves one.
As for John Meyler, it was a disappointing summer for him yet Corcoran feels there is no candidate jumping out of the page to replace him.
"It’s his second year. Sometimes bringing in a new manager can be just as disruptive. It’s very rare that a new manager comes in and they hit the ground running in their first year so the concern with bringing in someone new is that there’s going to be a rebuilding process again. Is that going to take another couple of years versus giving Meyler another shot at it and trying to build on what’s there.
"I’m not sure what the public opinion on it is. I know some people are probably looking for new faces but I’m not sure that’s necessarily the best thing either. We haven’t had great success at underage level either, it’s not like we’ve won three minors and two U21s and that manager is ready to come forward. Denis Ring and John Considine have been involved in the underage the last few years but we haven’t won All Irelands in that grade either. So if you do bring in someone new, you’re back into a rebuilding process.
"John got criticised last year for the depth of the bench and having to bring injured guys back on for the Limerick game and obviously, he tried to address that this year with having a little bit more attacking power on the bench. I wouldn’t be immediately of the mindset that Meyler has to go and bring in somebody new because I’m not sure we have someone waiting to take the reigns up."
To coincide with the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-20 Provincial Championship Finals preview, Bord Gáis Energy announced two exclusive tours of Croke Park for Rewards Club customers with Cork's Brian Corcoran, left, and Kilkenny's Eddie Brennan. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile.