All-Ireland hurling star Donal Og Cusack has revealed in an explosive autobiography that he has slept with both men and women before realising he is gay.
The player has lifted the lid off his bisexual past in a candid story of his life that makes him the first ever senior GAA star to publicly declare his homosexuality.
The Cork hurler from the small village of Cloyne is a legend in GAA circles after winning three All-Ireland finals.
Yet in what may shock the sporting establishment, he admits to sleeping with both women and men before accepting his sexuality as a gay man in his autobiography Come What May published by Penguin Ireland and due out this month.
In an honest and down-to-earth account of his life as one of the GAA's most high-profile players, he reveals how he tried to date women as a young man even though he knew from the age of 13 or 14 “that I was a bit different”.
“I tried to go out with women to make sure, to see what kind of feeling it gave me,” he writes.
“I went out with nice women and good women, but sure, I still knew. I wanted something else. I get more out of men. I just do. Always have. I know I am different but just in this way. Whatever you may feel about me or who I am, I've always been at peace with it,” he said.
He also reveals how coming out to his family was one of the hardest things he has ever done.
He was 6,000 miles away from home in South Africa when his sister Treasa rang him at his hotel to inform him that rumours were swirling around at home that he was gay.
He flew home to tell his family personally knowing that his father in particular would take the news very hard.
“Now my father is a man who would fight for his family but he's 63 years of age. He's a crane driver. Building sites can be cruel, hard places, he didn't need this,” he said.
When he did come out and tell them “the other, secret story of this son they had reared in this house,” his father started asking questions, he recalled.
“There was confusion in every line of his face.
“He said he was a man of the world, and that he had lived and worked in London for 10 years but he thought, well, if he had a son like this, he would dress differently and behave differently, “ he said.
“‘They all have square jaws,’” he said at one point. ‘But you don't. You're into hurling,’” he quoted his father as saying.
“Then he said: ‘Right, you know the way we need to deal with this? You need to get fixed.’”
Later, once the shock had subsided, Donal revealed how his father warned him he faced a hard road ahead.
“He shook his head slowly and said: ‘Like f*** it, Donal Og, the abuse you're going to get about this.”