The late Eddie Walsh didn’t envisage his grandson James wearing the green and gold, firmly believing his short frame would inhibit him from operating at inter-county level.
Tomorrow at Croke Park James Walsh will line out at right-half-back for the Kerry juniors in the All-Ireland decider against Mayo, bidding to add another piece of silverware to the family collection.
“It will be an emotional occasion for me,”admitted the 22-year oldKnocknagoshel native.
“The fact my grandfather Eddie won five All-Ireland medals with Kerry and my father Eamon also played with Kerry does make it a bit of an emotional thing. It’s always been something close to my heart and something I always dreamed of.
“I would have been close to my grandfather growing up. He used always joke, when was I ever going to grow, because he thought I was too small. He used always say ‘James will never grow, he will always stay very small. He will be a nice little footballer, but he will probably never make it because he will be too small’. If he saw me now – six foot plus – I would say there will be a smile on his face. I am sure he is and will be looking down on me in Croke Park.
“I would love to win on Saturday. If we do I will be glancing upwards, knowing he will be smiling and saying ‘I was wrong about you not growing’.”
Walsh is one of two survivors from the 2012 All-Ireland junior winning side and he believes this latest bunch are bolstered by the Croke Park experience of the Ardfert and Brosna contingent, as well as All-Ireland minor- winning pair Liam Kearney and Killian Spillane.
“It’s great we have players who have won already in Croke Park this year in the Ardfert and Brosna lads. We’ve a lot of players who have played at a high level with their clubs and districts as well which certainly helps. The players who were with the minors last year have great confidence. You know from every time you see them that they know what to do and that’s something they have definitely learned from Jack O’Connor.”