Cork hurling goalkeeper Dónal Óg Cusack has suffered a suspected snapped achilles tendon; an injury which could rule him out for the rest of the season.
The Cloyne man suffered the injury during Cork’s impressive 1-25 ro 2-15 win over Tipperary at Semple Stadium’s “home of hurling” on Sunday.
As a vocal presence in the dressing-room and on the pitch; Cusack will be a big loss to Cork’s championship hopes this year and his voice will certainly be missed.
Having made his Cork debut in 1996 against Tipp, the now 35 year-old quickly established himself as heir to iconic three-time All-Ireland winning goalkeeper Ger Cunningham.
Cusack has himself won three All-Irelands now (1999, 2004 and ’05) as well as two All-Star awards and has been a guiding light through some of the darkest days in Cork hurling. He led the player’s strikes of 2002 and ’08 and was one of the founding members of the Gaelic Player’s Association (GPA) – set up to improve player welfare.
Cusack suffered the injury when dealing with an awkward ball that was dropping under his crossbar in the 17th minute of the league semi-final with the Premier County.
After the shock of seeing Cusack receive treatment for several minutes and eventually being stretchered off the pitch, Cork’s players took some time to recover.
The Rebels however finished the game very strongly, responding well when Tipperary nicked goals and outscored the Premier by 1-07 to 0-01 in the last 12 minutes to secure a place in the league final with a seven point win.
The truth is that a league final appearance would be more important for Cork than Tipperary however, who are further along in their development than a young Cork outfit and the 2009 All-Ireland champions have one eye on the Munster Championship at this stage.
Cusack will be replaced in goal by either Anthony Nash or Martin Coleman for the league final (with Nash taking over for the remainder of the fixture with Tipp). Cusack will undergo a scan during the week to confirm the seriousness of his injury though all reports suggest that his achilles has been torn.
Cork will now face All-Ireland champions Kilkenny in the league final on 6th May with the time and venue yet to be confirmed.