Thursday 19 January 2017

Why hurler's coming out is so crucial for gay pride

Donal Og Cusack's announcement brings the idea of being gay as close to home as you can get, writes Donal Lynch

Published 25/10/2009 | 05:00

THE American radio producer was well aware that Donal Og Cusack's announcement of his homosexuality was important. But just to make sure that his New York listeners grasped the full enormity of the event, I had to look for parallels as I recorded a piece on a seismic week for the GAA star and our understanding of modern Ireland.

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"It would be like A-Rod or David Beckham...," I said, grasping to put it in terms he would understand. "It would be the equivalent of one of them saying they were gay. It's earthshaking."

But somehow, that was only partly right. Cusack may be a sports god at home, but he was never a corporate, pretty-boy celebrity like Becks, and there is no "international equivalent" of hurling. It is a uniquely Irish sport; intertwined with nationalist history, Celtic legend and a local sense of place; it is somehow manlier, grittier, and wilder than what would have once upon a time been called those "garrison games".

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