“A couple weeks after I got hurt, Jimmy (Barry-Murphy) came down to me and asked if I would get involved in the coaching side of things. I work now for Jimmy and Ger (Cunningham), and do whatever I’m told to do. That’s the atmosphereJimmy created. It’s not just goalkeeping, it’s any part of it. Ger (Cunningham) might say to me, ‘I want you to take this bit tonight’. That’s the journey I’m on now.”
Cusack works specifically with the goalkeepers — Darren McCarthy, Martin Coleman and Anthony Nash — and backed Coleman to bounce back from his disappointment in the league final against Kilkenny.
“It was a disappointing day to lose in the manner that we did. But Marty Coleman is a very experienced goalkeeper. He’s been top class for Ballinhassig and Cork the last number of years. I couldn’t say enough about that man and how he approaches the game, the way he lives his life on and off the pitch. Marty didn’t have a great day that day but he’s strong and knows he has to get back up on the horse.”
The Cloyne man sees pluses and minuses in Cork’s lengthy break since the Kilkenny defeat. “There’s for and against. One thing that was probably no harm was that guys went back to their clubs for a while. But look, as a sports person you get knocked down, and whether on an individual or a team basis, you just have to bounce back from it.”
Cusack himself is trying to bounce back from that serious injury: “I got the boot off last week but that will be going on again over the summer. I got the crutches off this week as well. It was a big milestone for myself. I’m working hard. I’m very lucky that I’ve Deccie (O’Sullivan, Cork physic), Dr Con and Eanna Falvey, and the surgeon Johnny McKenna, around me.”
And Tipperary? Cork had an emphatic win over them in the league semi-final. “It’s championship where their focus has been the last number of years,” says Cusack. “You only have to look at their comeback against Limerick. They’ll come down to Cork full of confidence and it’s up to us to steel ourselves for that.”
Meanwhile, Bride Rovers and Blackrock will meet for the second successive year in the Cork SHC after last night’s third-round draws at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Last year, the Rathcormac side won 2-11 to 1-12 in the last 16, which the winners of this game will advance to. The losers will play in the relegation play-off to determine who drops down to premier intermediate. In the other senior game, Cloyne play the losers of the Bishopstown-Glen Rovers tie.
At premier intermediate level, Newcestown meet Aghabullogue with Castlelyons clashing with Watergrasshill. Dripsey face Dromina in the IHC third round, with Blackrock’s second team meeting the losers of Kanturk and Éire Óg.
At present, St Nicholas are the only side to be sure of playing in the SFC third round. They play either Newmarket or Aghada after their second-round game on Saturday, with the other game seeing either Dohenys or Ilen Rovers meeting Na Piarsaigh or Nemo Rangers.
Kinsale and Macroom face off in the premier intermediate football third round, as do Mayfield and Ballinora, while at intermediate level, Castletownbere were drawn with Glanmire and Killavullen await the losers of Aghabullogue and Cloyne.