Matchday preparation 101 with Donal Og Cusack
Today’s Hospital Pass features two of the GAA’s strongest characters: Donal Og Cusack takes match preparation to a new and extreme level, while John Brennan gives a masterclass on how to not beat around the bush.
Matchday preparation 101 with Donal Óg Cusack
If anyone has any doubt as to the professional level of preparation that inter-county GAA players go to nowadays, then Donal Óg Cusack’s latest column on the official GAA website should prove a real eye-opener.
Because of his role in the GPA and in the numerous strikes that affected Cork hurling in recent years, it’s fairly clear that Donal – currently recuperating from a serious Achilles injury – would be one of the more authoritative figures in the association and takes his craft incredibly seriously.
Saying that, if every inter-county player goes to anywhere near the OCD-like lengths to prepare for 70 minutes of battle as he does, the GAA’s finest would nearly put professional athletes in the ha’penny place.
In what is an engrossing column, the Cork netminder says that there would be no way in hell he would take part in the opening ceremony if he was an Olympic athlete and reveals how one crossbar in Croke Park used to be six inches lower than the other. He also tells us that amongst other things, part of his pre-game preparation at headquarters involves bringing some bread and honey from his native Cloyne up with him to the big shmoke to ensure he’s feeling sweet about the day ahead.
It’s a brilliant read overall, but if were to ask Donal one thing afterwards, it would be to reveal the identity of the gullible Cloyne club mate of his and fellow goalkeeper who once let in not one, but two goals because the umpire behind him told him that the ball was going wide. Seriously.
John Brennan refusing to beat around the bush as usual
In an era where GAA managers will tiptoe around press conferences and interviews for fear of saying anything that might be considered controversial or used as motivation by the opposition, Derry boss John Brennan is a breath of fresh air.
His comments earlier in the year about having more interest in putting a man in space than in the league came back to haunt him somewhat after Derry were unable to rise above their mediocre form in the spring come the Championship, but at least he told it like it is.
And when asked about the prospect of him continuing on as manager of the Oak Leafers next season, his comments were once again, refreshingly bullsh*t-free.
“If anybody wants the job, they can feel free, they can go for it, I’ll not be standing in their way, Brennan told the Irish News.
“If anybody else can manage with the skeleton squad that I did, and manage without the top notch players, then in my opinion they are free to go.”
Regarding an upcoming meeting with Derry chairman John Keenan, he added: “We will not be talking about next year. We will be talking about a number of things that went wrong this year.
“There are a couple of things that I want aired. After we have raised a few points, they can do what they want next year.”
Please stick around for another while John, the GAA desperately needs more characters like you.