Walsh set for sensational Carlow return

WICKLOW midfielder Thomas Walsh is on the brink of a sensational return to the Carlow senior football panel, three years after transferring from his native Carlow to Wicklow in controversial fashion.

The shock move would set up a dramatic Leinster SFC first round tie on May 16 in Portlaoise where Walsh would line out for Carlow against his former side Wicklow.

It is understood that Walsh has been in regular contact with Carlow boss Luke Dempsey in recent weeks and intimated last week that he wished to return to the Barrowside fold.

The Carlow management raised the prospect of Walsh’s return with the current Carlow squad and the players backed the move for Walsh to rejoin their ranks. He was due to resume training with the squad last night as they prepare for the Leinster championship, having completed their NFL Division 4 campaign with last Sunday’s victory over London.

Walsh’s availability creates the prospect of pairing him at midfield with former Sydney Swans player Brendan Murphy, who has impressed hugely since his return from Australia at the end of last season.

The prospect of Walsh moving back to his native county first surfaced late last year when he returned to his native Fenagh club in south Carlow from the Bray Emmetts club in Wicklow. Walsh has been playing rugby in recent months in the Leinster Junior League for the Tullow and then lined out for Fenagh when action began in the Carlow club league last month. Walsh originally switched intercounty allegiances to Wicklow in the spring of 2007 after a dispute with the Carlow county board over expenses and also moved at club level at that time. The move generated huge controversy but despite the Carlow county board vehemently opposing the switch, the Leinster Council ultimately sanctioned the transfer.

Walsh was a key component in Wicklow’s run in reaching the last 12 of last summer’s All-Ireland SFC, forming a strong midfield partnership with James Stafford. He also lined out at interprovincial level for Leinster.

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