A majority of the five-man Cork hurling management team favoured the retention of Donal Óg Cusack on the Rebel’s League panel, the Irish Examiner has learned.
Cusack, last year’s Cork senior captain, was informed earlier this week by manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy that he would not be considered for the forthcoming Allianz Hurling League, but it is believed that when the team selectors discussed his place on the panel last month, a majority voted in favour of keeping Cusack on the panel.
Barry-Murphy informed local radio that the door was not shut on Cusack’s return, but with incumbent All-Star Anthony Nash in possession of the ‘keeper’s jersey and the promising Darren McCarthy the official number two net-minder, it looks highly unlikely that Cusack will be called back into the fold for the championship with no inter-county games under his belt.
The division among the selectors on the question of retaining Cusack will only strengthen the suspicion that there are serious tensions within the Cork camp, particularly at management level. Those suspicions were only strengthened yesterday when Eoin Cadogan used Twitter to question the decision to remove Cusack from the panel.
A couple of weeks ago Cadogan opted to play Gaelic football only this season, and yesterday tweeted: ‘Seems strange a man who does 9 months recovery 5/6 times a week Dosnt (sic) even get a chance to prove he’s worth a place on a panel.’
With Cadogan and Damien Cahalane dropping out of the hurling panel to focus on football, uncertainty over the future of Niall McCarthy and John Gardiner, the retirement of Sean Óg Ó hAilpín, the departure of Darren Sweetnam to Munster Rugby and now Donal Óg Cusack’s removal from the panel, Cork face into the National Hurling League without seven players who tasted championship action last season.
Cusack is in New York with a work party of GPA members, helping to rebuild a part of the city that was severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy last year.
Tightlipped on the news that broke back home about his intercounty career with Cork, the Cloyne clubman was focused on the arduous task facing the 18-man group of former players, tradesmen and Aer Lingus volunteers.
“It’s great to get things going,” Cusack told reporters at the Rockaway Point Fire Department which will house him, his fellow volunteers and the Sam Maguire until Monday.
“You’re not going to change the world out here but we made a commitment that we would be back and we’re fulfilling that.
“The people here appreciate that a group from Ireland is coming out here and we’ll also make some good friends along the way.”
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