Cusack urges Cork board to begin talks in resolving Duggan case
GAELIC Players Association (GPA) chairman Donal Og Cusack is hopeful a meeting between Cork County Board chairman Bob Ryan and Diarmuid Duggan can provide a satisfactory conclusion to the row that has left the former Cork footballer almost €7,000 out of pocket.
Duggan (pictured right) forked out for an operation on a troublesome hip injury in a bid to save his inter-county career and is seeking assistance from the Cork County Board -- who spent close to €1.4m on preparing its inter-county teams in 2011 -- to recoup the money spent.
Cusack met with Ryan yesterday morning and insisted both players and administrators alike have lessons to learn to prevent a similar situation from arising.
"That story is one of the reasons why you saw the emergence of the GPA with issues like the players getting injured and being out of pocket.
"It just can't happen that a player is out of pocket from injury -- not in this day and age. It would be different if the money didn't exist within the Association. I spoke to Bob this morning as chairman of the Cork County Board and I know he is looking to speak to Diarmuid. Hopefully, they can sit down and resolve it," Cusack said, at the launch of the GPA's new mental-health initiative, in association with Headstrong, that will see 25 county players act as youth mental health advocates in their locality.
"One of the lessons for us is that there is a job of work involved in educating players as to how to manage the injury scheme properly. And the last thing is that communication is the key.
"We have seen in Cork over the last few years that we have been burnt more than most and a lot of the reasons for the player strikes came from bad communication."
Cusack made his first start of the year for Munster in last weekend's inter-provincial defeat to Leinster and is likely to return to the Cork starting line-up for Saturday night's league opener against Waterford in Pairc Ui Rinn, in what will be the Cloyne man's first game for Cork as captain.
"When you're made captain there's certain things that you have to do and that has to start from day one. It's something that I treat as a great honour and I'm delighted to have it, but with it comes a great responsibility as well, and it's something I want to embrace and enjoy.
"You have certain characters in the room and you always have certain guys who do the talking. The captain goes up for the toss of the coin and says which way we're playing, but no it's not a massive change for me, no."
Cork face away trips to Dublin and Tipperary in the shortened five-game Division 1A campaign, and despite Kilkenny losing five experienced members of last year's squad and Lar Corbett withdrawing from the Tipperary squad, Cusack maintains they are well ahead of the pack.
"All you have to do is look at the All-Ireland finals over the last number of years.
"Maybe some of the romantics wouldn't agree with me, but I don't think we've ever seen games of hurling like that and both teams, Kilkenny more so, have taken the game on to a new level. It's up to everybody else to match that.
"If you look at past championship performances, we're under no illusions ourselves.
"Just look at our outing against Galway and that's where we're looking at ourselves and that's what we have to face up to."