CORK GAA chairperson Tracey Kennedy has insisted that new county minor hurling manager Dónal Óg Cusack’s candidacy was heavily scrutinised prior to the appointment being rubber-stamped.
Cusack, along with returning senior boss Kieran Kingston, U20 manager Pat Ryan, U16 manager Noel Furlong and high-performance manager Aidan O’Connell, was presented to the media at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Wednesday morning.
At Tuesday night’s county board meeting, Muskerry board delegate John Crean expressed concern regarding the three-time All-Ireland winner’s support of convicted paedophile Tom Humphries. When the issue was raised at the press conference, Kennedy confirmed that Cusack had been asked about it during the selection process.
‘Every question that should have been asked of Dónal Óg in the appointments process was asked by the appointments committee,’ she said.
‘Both they and the Cork County Board are absolutely satisfied with all responses provided by Dónal Óg.’
‘There was a headline this morning suggesting there was serious opposition at the board– three delegates raised concerns, and one of them was about the style of hurling – out of 150 in the room. Just to put that in perspective.’
Cusack himself wouldn’t be drawn any further on his previous clarification regarding the incident.
‘I dealt with that at the time in a very public statement,’ he said.
‘Everything I had to say was said then, it is in the past, and I am very much focused on the future and Cork hurling.’
As regards taking on the task of trying to lead Cork to a first All-Ireland at minor level since 2001, Cusack feels that there are some differences in dealing with teenagers but the bottom line is the same in terms of achieving success.
‘I think that’s no different to any level,’ he says.
‘You look at any dressing room, everyone is different. If I go into a different environment after this where I’m leading or managing people, it’s about understanding the person and I gave the example that we all have buttons, and it’s about understanding where they are and turning them into positives.
‘Your point is well made in that it’s not senior. Winning is important you can weave them into each other. Part of your development is about learning what is winning and what it means and how you weave it in your attitude and how you train and how you play. I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive.’
Meanwhile, Kingston – who led Cork to the 2017 Munster title – is under no illusions about the task facing him as succeeds John Meyler.
‘We have to be realistic,’ he said.
‘We are where we are – if you take the top ten or 11 teams in the country, at the moment, based on results, we’re a mid-table team.
‘There’s a massive challenge there and a huge amount of work to be done, I’m very aware of that, but there’s still a hunger and a passion to get that holy grail and have us competing at the top table on an ongoing basis.
‘There’s a degree of that [unfinished business] but there’s a passion and a hunger for hurling and it never goes away.’