Cork hurling star Sean Og O' hAilpin has revealed that he and Donal Og Cusack have a close relationship as they have both received plenty of abuse during their careers because they are perceived as different.
O’hAilpin, whose mother is Fijian, has spoken of the racial abuse that he has received during his career, and can identify with some of the abuse Cusack has received from the terraces about his sexual orientation.
"The reason Donal Óg and I have a tight bond is because we’ve gone through the same thing on the field," O’ hAilpin told the Irish Examiner earlier this week.
"Because of my background and his situation we’ve gone through the same pain on the field.
"It’s happened in the past and it’ll happen again.
"Myself and Donal Óg are lucky in that we’re strong enough to deal with it, all you can hope is that decent people near the ones doing this chanting will tell them to stop."
O’hAilpin went on to describe how the reaction of Cork hurling team was more a reflection of the type of person Cusack is.
"I’m not surprised by the support he’s received from his team-mates," said the defender.
"If he was an unpleasant person it’d be one thing, but he’s a decent guy and, to be honest, the team couldn’t give a hoot if he was gay or lesbian or anything. He’s a decent individual and the bottom line is this: does he do the job for Cork in goal week in, week out? He does. The lads have been very supportive, but we knew for a long time anyway.
"He felt by coming out to his team-mates that it’d be a big thing to get off his chest and you have to go along with what he wanted. He shouldn’t be judged any differently now.’’