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Cusack said, “The Irish GAA has made huge strides in recent years in terms of tackling sexuality and depression.”

Star Irish athlete Conor Cusack talks mental health (VIDEO)

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Cusack said, “The Irish GAA has made huge strides in recent years in terms of tackling sexuality and depression.”

“There have been no issues in relation to my blogs on both my experience with my mental health or my sexuality,” he shared.

“The greatest form of respect that I have got from opposition teams is that their defenders are treating me the same as they have done for the last 19 years, belting and flaking me with hurleys for 60 minutes.”

In a recent interview he gave in Ireland Cusack, who still plays hurling with his local Cloyne club in Cork, revealed he had been the victim of homophobic bullying in the immediate wake of his coming out. Cusack said he felt sorry for the person who wrote the word “fag” on his van in the days after he revealed that he was attracted to men.

"I came out the door in the morning and as I went around the door of my van I saw the word 'fag' written on my van. The first thing that came to my head was cigarettes,” he said.

"I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach, and it was similar to the feeling when I was being bullied all those years ago and for a split second I thought about retreating back into the house, but I got into the van.

"I realized that the people that were bullying me were actually victims as well as they were in a place of darkness. I have a deep empathy for those people.”

Cusack is looking forward to telling his story and spreading his message in New York.

“I’m really looking forward to the event, sharing ideas and forging new alliances of hope, awareness and services for our people,” he says.

“We have come a long way in Ireland in the past number of years in tackling these issues and sexuality in the game, but perhaps there is still a long way to go in places like America and this is why we must continue to spread the message.”

For more information on the April 25 event, call 914-237-5121 or visit www.aislingcenter.org.

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