"Joanne I have a confession to make" - tongue-in-cheek Donal Óg owns his Antrim call
"Joanne, I have a confession to make..."
You can accuse Donal Óg Cusack of going overboard on occasions, you can call him head-strong or even eccentric, but one thing you can never accuse that man of is of sitting on the fence.
Here is a pundit who, with a brilliant blend of articulation and conviction, puts his neck on the line each Sunday Game over a point he will die on the hill for.
Usually, whether you agree or disagree, it makes for captivating viewing.
It was back in December on All-Ireland final day when, having watched Antrim win the Joe McDonagh Cup final against Kerry, the Cork-man feared for their future.
"I don't want to be patronising towards them, that performance today suggests that they are going to struggle next year," the two-time All-Star began.
"It almost reminded me of a boxer going up a division but not having the weight to match the ambition.
"They have the population, they have the passion for hurling, hopefully they will benefit from their time up there, but I would worry that they are going to suffer a lot of beatings based on that performance today..."
Have to hand it to Donal Óg Cusack, he knows how to take his beating 👏pic.twitter.com/wnNfyXp0dc
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) May 10, 2021
So as Darren Gleeson's Antrim, not long after staring Donal Óg down on the wall of their dressing room, backed up their unbeaten 2020 with a sensational win over Clare on Sunday, it was hardly any surprise that the Cork man was in their line of fire.
With typical dead-pan style, Óg Cusack made a topical reference to Eoghan Harris' fake Twitter accounts and his dismissal from The Sunday Independent, before putting it up the Saffrons once again.
"There are six people that contribute to Donal Óg Cusack punditry. And the person who said that, was not myself. It was just a platform that's used to support my hurling comrades in the north..."
"But what was also said that night was that, based on the evidence that day, there was a stark difference in terms of physicality and the quality of the McDonagh Cup final as to the game afterwards.
"Nobody was as happy as me with that result today. Every other hurling person in Ireland was delighted to see it - an absolute fillip to the National League and to hurling. I'd be delighted if this pundit here would be proved wrong on many, many more occasions."
"But I still think they are going to struggle in this division."
Darren Gleeson won't need any team-talks this year, just play Donal Óg on repeat.