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Donal Óg: 'It is in the past, and I am very much focused on the future and Cork hurling'

The All-Ireland winning goalkeeper is back involved in Cork hurling as minor manager.

Donal Óg Cusack has taken charge of the Cork minor hurlers for 2020.
Donal Óg Cusack has taken charge of the Cork minor hurlers for 2020.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

CORK GAA TOP brass have insisted that new county minor hurling manager Dónal Óg Cusack was subjected to a rigorous process before his appointment was confirmed.

Cusack was ratified at last night’s county board meeting along with senior boss Kieran Kingston, U20 manager Pat Ryan and U16 manager Noel Furlong.

At that meeting, Muskerry divisional board delegate John Crean had expressed concern regarding a character reference Cusack provided for Tom Humphries during the 2017 trial in which the former journalist was convicted of the sexual exploitation and defilement of a child.

This morning, at a press conference to unveil the new managers, Cusack was asked about that reaction but referred to his previous statement on the issue.

“I dealt with that at the time in a very public statement,” he said.

“Everything I had to say was said then, it is in the past, and I am very much focused on the future and Cork hurling.”

donal-og-cusack Donal Óg Cusack was speaking at this morning's press conference. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Cork chairperson Tracey Kennedy assured those present that Cusack had faced stiff questioning during the appointment process.

“Every question that should have been asked of Dónal Óg in the appointments process was asked by the appointments committee,” she said.

“Both they and the Cork County Board are absolutely satisfied with all responses provided by Dónal Óg.”

“There was a headline this morning suggesting there was serious opposition at the board – three delegates raised concerns, and one of them was about the style of hurling – out of 150 in the room. Just to put that in perspective.”

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tracey-kennedy Cork GAA chairperson Tracey Kennedy Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Cusack’s viewpoint was backed by Cork CEO Kevin O’Donovan, who said: “With respect, people can decide when to be public and when to be private.”

While Jimmy Barry-Murphy had been in pole position to take the minor role, he was unable to come to an agreement with the board and Cusack was happy to take on the job when offered it.

“I think it’s well-known I would have spoken to the board about possibilities elsewhere in the organisation,” he said.

“It looked very likely that I was going to be involved in some manner and I was contacted over the weekend and I was delighted to get the invitation and it’s something I’m delighted to do.

“Cork has been part of my life since I was very young so I was delighted to be able to contribute. I want to give, I want to contribute to Cork and I want to make a difference.

“I don’t know whether you’d call it surreal,” he said, “excited would be the best description.

“Excited at the possibility of getting back involved with Cork and contributing, I wanted to see what was involved but excitement was the overriding emotion.”

And, while his is a one-year term, with Furlong taking the job for 2021, Cusack doesn’t feel straitened.

“Everybody at this table has different challenges and different constraints,” he said.

“There are constraints at every level, but I think, when you look at it, a lot of the minors are only there for a year anyway so my focus is to give it everything I can and see where we end up.”

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About the author:

Denis Hurley

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