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Homophobic abuse Davy Fitzgerald says he has 'massive respect' for former rival Donal Óg Cusack on dealing with bullies

The openly gay 43-year-old Cloyne man had to deal with homophobic abuse from a few fellow players and others.

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Davy Fitzgerald

Davy Fitzgerald

Donal Óg Cusack. Photo: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Donal Óg Cusack. Photo: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

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Davy Fitzgerald

DAVY Fitzgerald has slammed homophobes who used to pick on Dónal Óg Cusack when he was playing for Cork.

Donal Óg and Davy Fitz are perhaps Ireland’s most famous hurling goalkeepers and were keen rivals during their heyday.

But Corkman Cusack admits he was stung by homophobic catcalls and chants from the terraces.

Now a GAA commentator, the openly gay 43-year-old Cloyne man also had to deal with homophobic abuse from a few fellow players and others.

This has incensed father-of-one Fitzgerald (49), who himself was the victim of bullying when he was at school.

“What happened with Donal Óg was 100pc wrong - the respect and admiration I have for that man is incredible," Fitzgerald, who currently fronting RTE shows Ireland’s Fittest Family and Davy’s Toughest Team, tells SundayWorld.com.

“Myself and Donal Óg would have killed each other for a long time. Now I think we are really good friends.”

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Donal Óg Cusack. Photo: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Donal Óg Cusack. Photo: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Donal Óg Cusack. Photo: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

He adds: “He is a man that has a lot of heart, a lot of feelings so he does. He is a good friend that tells you things straight out, I would have so much time and respect for him.

“There is no BS with Donal Óg, he tells you as it is. Anyone that stoops to that behaviour, saying stuff about him. That’s wrong.

“We all have different things in our lives, I don’t think anybody should be shouting abuse at anybody. I think Donal Óg, when I look at him, I think what a person.

Massive respect for him, and he's really one guy I value in a big way. People who would have been roaring stuff at him need to have a good look at themselves.”

Davy reveals he still meets the bullies who tormented him during his schooldays in Co Clare.

“I don’t think I will ever forget,” he stresses. “I think they have learned a lesson. I think they thought they were being funny, you know when you are trying to be the man, you are trying to be funny and you’re taking the piss out of someone else.

“I don’t think they realise the effect it has. One or two of them I often chat away to them now, I never say anything to them, I let it go. But it wasn’t nice, it wasn’t the right thing to do.

“That type of bullying is straight out and it’s tough. Like the bullying you see now, most of it is on social media, which is very tough to take. Back then it was very tough. The one thing I say is you need to talk to someone - I didn’t talk to anyone, I was lucky I had my hurling. I think the people now realise what they did was wrong."


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