Cusack: No regrets on career, no bitterness over league axing

Dónal Óg Cusack appears to have accepted his inter-county hurling career is over after insisting he has no intentions of being bitter about his demotion from the panel and is ready for a new challenge.

Interestingly, Cork’s three-time All-Ireland winning goalkeeper didn’t go as far as announcing his inter-county retirement. However, contrary to media reports, he clarified that manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy had given him no indication last month that he may be recalled to the panel after the league.

With Barry-Murphy’s agreement running until the end of the 2014 season, it seems Cusack, who would then be 37, has played his last game in a Cork jersey.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One and Newstalk yesterday where he was promoting Stand Up Awareness week, March 11-15, which seeks to cut out homophobic bullying, Cusack took issue with a couple of points in how his exit from the panel had been conveyed.

“I met Jimmy on a Tuesday morning and sat into my car because I was coming from work and needed to get back there. He said he wanted to have a chat with me. There were two things that came out of that conversation that were reported widely in the media afterwards. Number one was that this was in some way just for the league or temporary removal.

“There wasn’t anybody [who] told me that and Jimmy certainly didn’t put that to me. The second one was that I had reacted badly or angrily in the conversation. That wasn’t the case.

“It was one of those things when you see it in the media and you see so many people reporting on those two aspects of it, you just wonder where did those things come from.”

The 35-year-old insisted he only “debated” the issue with Barry-Murphy.

“It was a conversation between two men, there wasn’t any anger or anything like that. It was just very matter of fact and that was it.”

Their conversation was cut short by Cusack’s need to return to a work meeting. He admits Barry-Murphy’s bombshell left him reeling, however.

“I do recall going into that meeting after sitting down and looking at these gentlemen and I wouldn’t say what we were talking about was at the forefront of my mind after getting the news from Jimmy.”

Naturally disappointed by his axing from the panel, he maintains he doesn’t want to let it get him down.

“Obviously, I’m a sports person and I’ve played for Cork. I think this league panel was the first league squad since 1996 that I wasn’t involved in so obviously that’s a change in your life.

“I like to look back on the positive things. I made great friends and great memories. The game taught me a lot, even in areas around health and mental resilience.”

Cusack also has no reservations about his involvement in the three Cork strikes.

“I’ve absolutely no regrets in any of that territory. Any of the stances we took, at that time in our lives, that’s what we believed was the right thing to do for Cork hurling.

“In that regard, I’ve absolutely no regrets. It’s important for me to move onto the next challenge.”

The Cloyne man hasn’t ruled out the possibility of entering politics.

“I have an interest in politics. I like reading about it, I like learning about it and I like watching what’s happening in different countries. But at the moment, I’ve got my career with J&J (Johnson and Johnson) and I’m focused on that.”


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