Dónal Óg Cusack retains hope for a summer of success for Cork but admits it looks a big ask for the Rebels in this year’s All-Ireland Hurling Championship.
Joining RTÉ’s 2013 Championship team this year, the goalkeeper said at the launch on Sunday that he is unsure of what the future holds for the county.
He said: “It is probably hard to judge. During the league Cork have been a bit Jekyll and Hyde if you like. They started off fantastically against Tipperary. Obviously relegation was very disappointing. We do consider ourselves a serious hurling county. It is a results business.
“I think the management have a tough job ahead of them. But I think they would like to be judge on results themselves and rightly so. It seems there is a tough road ahead. It seems Clare alone will be a big challenge, to get over that. We'd still be hopeful. You'd never write Cork off in a Championship game. Hopeful would be my position.
“The big question, like it has been for the last number of years in the All-Ireland, is can Kilkenny be stopped or are they going to stop themselves. It definitely doesn't look that way. It didn't look that way from the league final when you look at the performance that they put in, given the players they were missing.
“Closest to them is Tipperary, I don't think they will be too disappointed with the result in the league in the final. After that, the chasing pack are well behind them at the moment. The big question for Galway is can they put two good years back-to-back. Traditionally they haven't done that.”
The three-time All-Ireland winner will cast his eye over this summer’s action for RTÉ on The Sunday Game and Radio 1 and hopes to add a fresh impetus to the coverage.
He said: “I think the most important thing, like most things in life, is you call it as you see it.
“From a hurling point of view, I obviously have a great love for the game and I think there is a great beauty in the detail of hurling.
“Hopefully that is something I will be able to express through this medium.”