Richie Hogan was at his superb best once more on Sunday as he led Danesfort to their first Kilkenny intermediate hurling championship title since 2011.
The 2014 Hurler of the Year was pivotal throughout the season for Niall Bergin’s side as they topped their league table with a 100% record before defeating Thomastown in a thrilling decider to confirm their return to the senior ranks.
Speaking to Scoreline following his team’s 1-36 to 4-25 defeat of their opponents, Hogan elaborated on how much the victory meant to the entire club, Danesfort’s apathy towards the conditions after some heavy rain the night before the game and his future with the Kilkenny senior hurlers.
On gaining promotion and the importance of the younger members of the panel, he said: “t was incredible. I’m just so proud of the younger lads. I’ve been going a while and I’m expected to perform.
“I know how to play, but the likes of Ben Whitty and Cathal Kearney were exceptional and it’s hard to play in final without having any experience of them.
“The difference between us and other teams is we need everyone to perform and they certainly did that.”
The 7-time All-Ireland winner brushed away questioning about the conditions that the game were played in after torrential rain merely hours before throw-in led to some concerns about the quality that would be on display prior to throw-in.
“We didn’t care about the weather. We played well in the semi-final (against Rower-Inistioge) in similar conditions and won that game so it wasn’t important for us.
“We have some really talented forwards and we moved the ball really well. Not many teams other than Thomastown would have withstood that but Thomastown never gave up and showed an incredible will to win.”
The classy forward did not downplay how much a return to the top tier and becoming county champions meant to both the panel and the parish.
“I’m proud to be from Danesfort and that we won today. These days are brilliant.
“We don’t have as many of these days as other clubs and it means so much to everyone. We haven’t had a day like this for over ten years (when they won the 2011 intermediate championship) and we’re going to enjoy this.”
Hogan, who scored 0-12 in the final, would not be drawn on speculation about his future with Derek Lyng’s Kilkenny panel in 2023 after a cameo in this year’s All-Ireland defeat to Limerick that brought with it an outstanding point as he rolled back the years on the intercounty stage.
“I’m enjoying playing hurling at the minute and enjoying playing games.
“It’s crucial to play minute-after-minute, game-after-game and if we could get a run at this championship it would be surreal and you wouldn’t know what would happen after that.”