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All Star Nash rubbishes claims of rift in Rebel camp

ALL STAR goalkeeper Anthony Nash has emphatically refuted recurring rumours of trouble in the Cork hurling camp, insisting there is "absolutely no change" from previous years.

"There is absolutely nothing happening, I can assure you, and where some of the rumours come from is beyond me," insisted Nash, speaking at the launch of this year's Allianz Hurling League.

"If it was coming from inside the camp, then you would say that it would affect you but it is not coming from inside the camp." He added: "There is a lot of stuff written in the papers and, I suppose, if you flicked through them you would not be too happy to see it. You don't let it get inside your head ... to be honest, I try and avoid it and my family try and avoid it as well, so it doesn't get to me. The other boys are the same."

Leaving aside the Rebel rumour mill, manager Jimmy Barry Murphy has been forced further into transition following the loss of dual players Eoin Cadogan and Damien Cahalane (to the Rebel footballers), Darren Sweetnam (to Munster rugby) and Seán óg ó hAilpin (retirement) while veteran trio John Gardiner, Niall McCarthy and – most contentiously – Donal óg Cusack aren't part of Cork's league plans.

Cusack missed last year's championship following Achilles surgery. In his absence, Nash established his starting claims to such an extent he won an All Star in his first campaign as a regular – but news of Cusack's omission still came as a bombshell to the wider public.

"I sent Donal óg a text at the time thanking him," Nash said. "He was in America at the time and, as we all know, he is such a busy man – he has other things outside of hurling as well.

"He has been a great help to me since joining the panel," the Kanturk clubman, 28, added. "This is my seventh or eighth year on the panel, and every single step of the way he was there to try and improve me and get me through it.

"Even last year, he brought me up to Croke Park for the Dublin/Laois football game to get me used to the atmosphere before the Galway (All-Ireland semi-final) because I had not played in Croke Park before.

"He has always been a great help to me and a great servant to Cork, and I am sure if I ever need him again he will be at the end of the phone."