Versatile Walsh expected to revert to corner-back

KILKENNY appear set to move Tommy Walsh back into defence for their Guinness All-Ireland SHC semi-final against Galway next Sunday.

While the Leinster champions have trained behind closed doors since their unconvincing quarter-final win over Limerick, reports suggest that the versatile Walsh will be named at corner-back marking Damien Hayes.

The pair were in direct opposition in last season's quarter-final in Thurles, when Walsh played a starring role, even though the Galway man scored 1-3.

In Walsh's first season, in 2003, he played at wing-forward. He was used as a defender last year and in this campaign he has operated at wing-forward.

While Martin Comerford continues to be troubled by a groin problem, which is likely to require surgery, John Hoyne is understood to have come back into favour and Richie Power's starting position could be in doubt.

Meanwhile, the Armagh pair, Paul McGrane and Ciaran McKeever, are free to play in the last of the Bank of Ireland football championship quarter-finals against Laois next Saturday.

With both players having sought hearings from the Dispute Resolutions Authority (DRA) which lifted Tyrone defender Ryan McMenamin's four-weeks suspension a meeting of the Central Council on Saturday decided that no further action should be taken.

Based on what was described as the "technical and legal points" which arose from the McMenamin case, the GAA decided after seeking legal advice that cases against the two players should not be pursued.

And, as President Sean Kelly pointed out last week, the technical and legal points referred to will be addressed "as a matter of expediency."

The Central Council has also moved swiftly to close the loophole with regard to personal endorsements of playing gear by players arising from the controversy involving Cork players, Niall McCarthy and Kieran Murphy.

The Council interprets the relevant rule as governing "all items of clothing or accessories" and also includes "any part of the body." The only exception is that the Irish manufacture portion of the role is not applied with regard to boots.

The two players had written letters of apology for their action and, as expected, escaped disciplinary action.

Sean Kelly has welcomed the approval of inter-county referees for the Central Disciplinary Committee policy "to exonerate or discipline players based on authentic video evidence."

Writing in the programme for Saturday's game in Croke Park, he said he was impressed by the attitude of referees after attending a recent meeting.

He appealed for greater understanding of their difficult job, commenting: "it's great to see new referees emerging. Credit where credit is due. Mistakes have been made and will be made but the commitment is great, the efforts to be better highly commendable. So please, give the auld referee a break.''

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