The Shape I'm In: Walter Walsh still fit for purpose

KILKENNY star hurler, Walter Walsh, is in the midst of his final-year exams for agricultural science in UCD.

When I ring on Monday morning as agreed, he apologises, explaining he has an exam in an hour’s time, but promises that at 3pm he’d be “be full of talk”. And, true to his word, he is.

From a farming family, he is the middle of five children, flanked by two brothers and two sisters. Immediate career plans include doing the HDip in education, which would allow him to teach at secondary school. “The farm is an option, but my father is still a young man. I am not going to make my mind up on my future just yet,” says Walter, 21.

His interest in sport comes from both sides of the family. His mother played camogie, and his father played hurling with the local club. His cousin, Joanne Cuddihy, is an Irish Olympic sprint athlete.

His birthday is on May 25. Has he any plans to hit the town? “No. I will the training the next day, so there will not be much celebrating going on.”

* Agri students can compete for the dream summer job ‘CAP Agri Ambassador’, at the Family Farm, Dublin Zoo. See:

What shape are you in?

I am getting back into fitness. I was out with an injury, tendonitis in both knees. I had some rest in the winter and I was on a programme to build up my quad muscles and take the pressure off my knees. Currently, I have a ligament injury in my elbow, but I hope to be match-fit when the championship comes around in a few weeks.

Have you any health concerns?

Other than my injuries, I’ve never had any health troubles. I am lucky in that way. There is no history of serious illness in my family, I hope it will stay that way.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

We are given a nutritional programme to follow and I try to stick to that as best as I can — no fast food, sweets, chocolate, or alcohol. At nighttime, I’d have a bowl of cereal.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

I suppose a few biscuits with my tea. Chocolate Hobnobs are my favourite.

What would keep you awake at night?

Definitely the exams. I would be very worried. Like every student, I hope I’ve studied the correct thing. Before matches, I wouldn’t have trouble sleeping — I’m a relaxed kind of person.

How to you relax?

I wouldn’t have a special routine. Before a match, I watch a little telly the night before, or I go on the internet, watch a DVD. I like the Inbetweeners. At college, we go out to the cinema, but I don’t go out too much. And when the hurling is on, I wouldn’t be going out at all.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Dan Carter, who plays rugby with New Zealand, Katie Taylor, and actor Will Ferrell.

What’s your favourite smell?

212 Cologne. Being from a farming background, I also like the smell of cut grass.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

Playing hurling a couple of weeks ago, I got a scar in my forehead, which needed a few stitches. I’d like to get that changed.

When did you last cry?

I don’t cry often. I shed a tear after we lost the All-Ireland under-21 to Clare last year — we put a lot of work into it. It was tough to take the loss.

What trait do you least like in others?

People who are full of themselves.

What trait do you least like in your self?

I can’t think of anything. I would be honest with myself. Maybe you should ask the lads.

Do you pray?

I go to mass every Sunday. If it clashes with training, I go on a Saturday. I would pray before a match, but I wouldn’t be too religious.

What would cheer up your day?

If I found out that I had all my exams passed. Also, if training went well, or the team played a good match and won.


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