'Inter-county is like North Korea' - Donal Óg Cusack 'embarrassed' by GAA secrecy and criticises football pundits
Donal Óg Cusack has claimed that the GAA is failing to market the national games and blames the culture of omerta that exists among players and managers.
Media blackouts and banal interviews have become common in the game with mangers shielding their players from the media and players who do interact with the press are afraid to say anything controversial.
Former All-Ireland winning Cork goalkeeper and current Clare mentor Cusack wants a more open approach and believes the game needs 'characters'.
“Inter-county now is like North Korea. I'm a bit embarrassed in terms of how secret it is. But, (unlike North Korea), if we had a successful missile launch, we'd do our best to cover it up," he told GAA.ie
“I definitely think that we need to go out there and sell our games. I was listening to the news on RTÉ One a couple of weeks and Des Cahill, who's a good GAA guy, read out the news.
“There was no mention of the GAA. I sent him a text afterwards and I said, 'It was a big GAA weekend...Why was there no [GAA]?' He never came back to me, but, you know, he knew where I was coming from.
“The next news that I saw was on RTE and the heading was 'Lions'. Whatever the Lions is and whatever that means, best of luck to them. The Lions were beaten, Ireland were playing Japan - that's a challenge game that they were playing out in Japan.
“The next headline was that 'Scotland shock Australia' - no mention of GAA. I said to myself, whatever about the Lions, whatever about what that is, whatever about Ireland playing a challenge game in Japan, I don't a f**k if Scotland are after shocking Australia in a challenge game! Where's the GAA coverage?"
The debate over the GAA's deal with Sky was reignited over the weekend when Offaly legend Michael Duignan launched an impassioned criticism of the deal. but Cusack is in favour of it.
"I hear the whole Sky debate. To me, we're a bit bi-polar. We've no problem paying to watch the Lions.
“I think it's a good thing. I worked for RTE and RTE are very important to the coverage of our games but I would have said this when I was working for them, I thought the Sky deal made absolute sense.
“You need to have competition in the market. It's wasn't as if every GAA game was on RTE because it wasn't. Those are the facts of the matter.”
Cusack has noticed a marked difference between the way hurling and football pundits approach their duties.
“When I was a pundit, if I'd a choice if I was going to blow the game up or put the game down, I'd always err on the side of it (blow it up). I don't think that's common though," he added.
"I've no problem saying that. I do think that especially when I was in RTÉ, some of the football pundits would, like I remember the first time I went up there, I mirrored just to see what was happening.
“I remember thinking, there's actually beauty in some of the Gaelic football that's going on there but it appears to me as if a lot of the tone within some of the football pundits is to ensure that they put those guys down to make themselves look better. I think we just need to have a collective look at the whole thing.”