Dónal Óg Cusack: The county is as essential as the clubs themselves

Dónal Óg Cusack has criticised elements of the GAA media who he believes are intent on making Gaelic games as “anonymous as the League of Ireland B”.
Dónal Óg Cusack: The county is as essential as the clubs themselves
Current Cork minor hurling manager Dónal Óg Cusack argued the elite part of the game should be celebrated, not condemned. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Current Cork minor hurling manager Dónal Óg Cusack argued the elite part of the game should be celebrated, not condemned. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Dónal Óg Cusack has criticised elements of the GAA media who he believes are intent on making Gaelic games as “anonymous as the League of Ireland B”.

The current Cork minor hurling manager is also the president of the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) and has taken aim at those who he believes are trying to drive a wedge between the club and county scenes.

Speaking on the RTÉ GAA podcast, Cusack argued the elite part of the game should be celebrated, not condemned.

“There’s this perception being put out there that the club player is almost holier than the inter-county player.

"I would argue the county game is every bit as integral and as historical a component of the GAA as the club game.

“It’s vital in terms of showcasing our games, the provision of an elite arena for our players… like, what do we want - to say we don’t have an elite arena involved in our Association so you should go and play other sports?

"I think absolutely we should be catering for the elite aspect of our sports and be proud of it.

I would argue the county is as essential as the clubs themselves in terms of the unifying effect on communities and even the sense of pride in place that it offers, then not to mention the income for building grounds, the grants, the coaching officers.

"The laochs, the heroes, we know how important that is to the game, the lads who present medals at the end of the year.

“A lot of the people who are making the most noise at the moment are actually people who make money or try to make money off the backs of these very same players.

"I do think we need to be very careful because if some of these people have their way the GAA will be as anonymous as the League of Ireland B.

"We have to be very careful in terms of that whole territory, right.”

Cusack also defended the GPA, saying they were right to look for insurance for inter-county and it wasn’t their position but the county boards to ensure their teams don’t breach the club window.

Also in the podcast, Oisín McConville, who is currently managing Inniskeen Grattans in Monaghan, has also claimed Monaghan had been training.

The former Armagh star made reference to Laois manager Mike Quirke’s Irish Examiner column earlier this week in which the Kerryman said Laois had not trained and breached the club window.

“I have had more conversations with (Monaghan manager) Seamus McEnaney in the last couple of weeks than I ever have, and I think it’s been more amicable because I think it has to be.

“A lot of the rhetoric I have heard around the country is there is a serious problem between inter-county managers and clubs.

"I’ve found it’s sort of flipped on its head in that the lines of communication have been open.

“Reading the article Mike Quirke wrote and I know Mike quite well, I’m going to have to ring him and tell him he needs to get training quickly because everybody else is training.

"And if Laois are the only other team in the country who are not training then they’re in for a mighty fall because the lines of communication in my regard have been opened up.

"And when the lines of communication are opened up between inter-county managers and clubs I think it’s all for the better.”

The RTÉ GAA podcast can be accessed here.

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