Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 17

With a side of nips: 

Donal Óg Cusack

Special thanks to blog reader Michael for suggesting this St. Patrick's Day post.

Irish hurling champion Donal Óg Cusack (b. 1977) is a goalkeeper and captain for the Cork Hurling team, which is as close to heaven as you can get in hurling circles. He has been honored publicly by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) on numerous occasions. Cusack has won three All-Ireland medals, five Munster medals and two All Star awards.

Cusack came out a few years ago, although he would likely contend he was never really 'in'. In 2009 he published a best selling autobiography titled “Come What May”, which is still selling well. Cusack has become quite an unexpected spokesman on gay issues in Ireland – bullying and being openly gay in sports, for example.

Just prior to the release of his autobiography, Cusack revealed in a newpaper interview:

“I get more out of men. Always have. I know I am different but just in this way. Whatever you may feel about me or who I am, I've always been at peace with it. Since I was 13 or 14, I knew I was a bit different. I hate labels though. That's the way I am. I live with it and I am fine with it. People close to me will tell you there were never any tears. There was never agony. I just know this thing. [...] I've had to say this to people I'm close to again and again. This is who I am. This is what I do. I spend a lot of time trying to work things out but once I know something about myself, I know it. I don't agonise. It's logical to me. I thought about this but never had any problems dealing with it.”

According to Cusack, discussing his sexual orientation strengthened his bond with his fellow players. He went for a walk with then captain Seán Óg Ó hAilpín, whom Cusack had known since they were boys, and told him "the whole story, stuff that I thought he would have guessed"; they had "a deep and complex conversation from both sides and we came out of it like brothers."

Since then Cusack has been noted as one of the few "openly gay sporting heroes" both at home and abroad. “Come What May” won the William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year for 2009.

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