THOUGH lockdown is undeniably challenging, former Kilkenny All-Star Tommy Walsh appreciates the benefits.
“I think life has slowed down for a lot of people. We’re after meeting our neighbours more than ever just by walking the road. Usually, you’re busy running around everywhere.”
However, he’s keenly aware others may be struggling to deal with the isolation that comes with the ‘stay at home’ directive.
“A lot of people are in a bad situation, they are in trouble maybe money-wise, work-wise, or relationship-wise,” he says.
“A few words of encouragement is so important. That‘s why I’m involved with Pieta House. I think Covid-19 will show a lot of people how tough it is when you’re on your own.”
When asked if he’s different in daily life to the fiercely competitive player on the pitch, he’s emphatic: “I think I’m the same both ways.”
And how would he describe himself? “I’d be very committed, very passionate, very stubborn.”
Aged 37 and a bank official, the Tullaroan hurler is married to Marlis. They have two children, Finn aged seven, and Pippa aged five.
n Tommy Walsh is a Darkness Into Light ambassador, a fundraising initiative for Pieta, supported by Electric Ireland. Donate at www.darknessintolight.ie.
What shape are you in?
I’m in good shape. Come the championship game, I’d be 12st — I’m not far off that. At the moment we’re on a training regimen. I put in 5K once a week, I do a couple of four-minute runs one day, a 35-minute jog another day. It’s not even for the training. It’s great for your mental health, to be honest. I have weights — you try and get that in three times as well. It’s like this, we’ve more time now to train than we ever had because we’ve nothing else to do.
One of the guys in the group David Herity — he was on goal for Kilkenny — has challenged us to do ‘Bring Sally Up’ press-ups in time to the music for three and a half minutes. It’s a world-wide challenge.
I train five times a week.
What are your healthiest eating habits?
Routine. In the morning I get up early, I’ll always have breakfast. I’ll always have something [to eat] between 10 and 11 — a midmorning snack. I’ll always have lunch and dinner.
I don’t fill out apps or I don’t read the backs of things. What I try to do is use my own head. Stay away from your burgers and chips — you do eat them but you’re not eating them the whole time, you’re conscious of it.
What are your guiltiest pleasures?
Pringles at evening time.
What would keep you awake at night?
I’m a very good sleeper but if you’re worried about something you can be wakeful. You try and write it down. I read a lot. I’m just after finishing all the Harry Potter books — I got them for Christmas. My favourite book of all time is The Alchemist. It’s all about your destiny.
How do you relax?
When the kids go to bed we throw on Netflix. I’m watching The Last Dance with Michael Jordan, it’s amazing. I have to watch that on my own — my wife is watching Grey’s Anatomy. We try and watch telly together most times.
Who are your sporting heroes?
Christy Ring, Ronaldo and Tom Brady.
What’s your favourite smell?
An aftershave called Invictus. My favourite natural smell would be the first cut of the year of the grass. And the smell of a bakery — it’s unbelievable.
What would you like to change about your appearance?
I’d love to have a six-pack. I never had one but it’s on my bucket list. I’ve been trying to get one since 2012 when the gym culture came in.
When is the last time you cried?
In October when we (Tullaroan) won the county final. There are 600 people in our parish so when you win or lose the whole community feels it, as opposed to just the team or whoever is around you. We last won in the final in 1994. When you win it after being questioned for so long, by yourself as well, that’s what makes it so vast.
What traits do you least like in others?
People who are on the mobile phone when you are trying to talk to them.
What traits do you least like in yourself?
I can be selfish. We all have our own personalities. Sometimes you have to make decisions and just go with it — you do your best.
What would cheer up your day?
When I get up early. Once you’re up around 7, I find the day is just great afterwards. If the sun just happens to be out, like it is today, it’s just amazing.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Universal Studios, Orlando. I was there with the Kilkenny team. You become a kid again.
What quote inspires you the most?
It’s one from John Wooden, a famous American basketball coach: ‘Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.’