Cork All Star hurling goalkeeper Dónal Óg Cusack has revealed that he is gay.
In an exclusive interview with the Irish Mail on Sunday's Shane McGrath, the three-time All-Ireland winning Rebel confirmed: 'This is who I am. Whatever you feel about me or who I am, I've always been at peace with it.'
Quoted from his autobiography Come What May, serialised in the MoS, Cusack admits: 'Since I was 13 or 14, I knew I was a bit different. I hate labels though. That's the way I am. I live with it and I am fine with it. People close to me will tell you there were never any tears. There was never agony. I just know this thing.
'I've had to say this to people I'm close to again and again. This is who I am. This is what I do. I spend a lot of time trying to work things out but once I know something about myself, I know it. I don't agonise. It's logical to me. I thought about this but never had any problems dealing with it.'
Cusack revealed that he had to cut short a team trip to South Africa in 2006 because of rumours back home about his sexuality.
The Cloyne man, who is heavily involved in the GPA, also confirmed that the GPA have examined the cost of professionalism, but admitted the numbers didn't add up and believes that any move to professionalism would do ‘a disservice’ to young players.
He admits: 'Dessie [Farrell, GPA Chief Executive] and myself had been doing a lot of talking about the whole thing, where we thought the GPA should go and where we hoped the GAA would go, and we did the figures, and we would have come to the conclusion that professionalism is not the way forward.'
However, he added: 'Why not create an amateur association that looks after its players better than any other sports association, and then invest your money in offering guys extra education that is tailored to them? I think that there is an acknowledgement at certain levels of the GAA that that is the way it has to go. If we take it to that point, then I’m happy, I’m out of there then.’