independent

Monday 21 April 2014

Barry-Murphy calls time on career of Cork colossus Cusack

Donal Og Cusack's Cork hurling career looks to be at an end after Jimmy Barry-Murphy confirmed that he has been released from the squad.

Barry-Murphy is understood to have met with Cusack earlier this week and told him that he was surplus to requirements for the forthcoming league campaign.

Cork were carrying three goalkeepers in their squad, but Barry-Murphy and his management team are now pressing ahead with just two, current All Star Anthony Nash and Darren McCarthy, for the foreseeable future.

Cusack (right) was captain for the first time last year, appointed to the position by Barry-Murphy on his return to management for the first time in over 11 years. Cusack will be 36 next month and is unlikely to feature again in a Cork squad, though Barry-Murphy has made it clear that the squad remains open to change.

Cusack has been one of the most influential inter-county GAA players of his generation, through his championing of the cause of player welfare and innovation as a goalkeeper.

He also serves as Gaelic Players Association chairman, and as news of his departure was breaking he was touching down in JFK Airport heading a GPA work group of former players who will help in the reconstruction effort of Breezy Point, the predominantly Irish community in the New York borough of Queens, which was one of the areas worst affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Meanwhile, an attendance of between 35,000 and 40,000 is anticipated for tomorrow night's double-header in Croke Park, which will get the 2013 football league under way.

The decision to persuade Kildare to play their home match against All-Ireland champions Donegal at Headquarters looks like paying off if those figures are reached.

Kildare are understood to have got a sweetener in the region of €60,000 to switch the game to Croke Park and double up with Dublin v Cork.

Ordinarily, a stand-alone fixture involving Dublin and Cork might not have passed the 20,000 barrier.

The GAA have planned a video celebration and fireworks display to mark 100 years of Croke Park being in their possession, and a celebration of the late Kevin Heffernan's life is planned. A minute's silence for Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe will also be observed.

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