Waterford stalwart and hurling’s all-time Championship appearance record holder Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh is believed to have informed new manager Liam Cahill he has retired from inter-county hurling.
The four-time All-Star was one of the players called by Cahill this past weekend where he informed the Tipperary native that 2019 was his final season in the Déise jersey.
After starting this year’s Division 1 final defeat to Limerick, the 36-year-old’s Championship appearances were limited. Having not seen any action in the opening two Munster SHC matches, he came on at half-time against Limerick and as a late second-half replacement against Cork, which was his 76th Championship game.
A debutant in 2003, Walsh appeared in both of Waterford’s two All-Ireland finals these last 11 years, captain in 2008 and won three Munster medals (2004, ‘07, ‘10) and two Division 1 medals (2007, ‘15), leading the county to their first League title in 44 years.
An All-Star forward in 2017 at the age of 34, the Stradbally man also claimed the personal awards in 2007, ’09 and ’10 all at centre-back and was nominated another five times in 2006, ’12, ‘13, ‘15 and ‘16.
A holder of 10 Waterford SFC medals, Walsh was also a Waterford senior footballer before he was a hurler.
Meanwhile, former Déise star Eoin Kelly believes Cahill chose to drop Noel Connors and Maurice Shanahan on the recommendation of his selectors Stephen Frampton and Stephen Molumphy.
“He (Cahill) is obviously after getting advice off his two selectors and that’s what he probably went on more than anything. But if you look at the club games in Waterford, Maurice is one of the best players by a mile.
It’s a funny one and you don’t want to cut the back off the manager so soon. It’s a big statement to drop Noel because you’re dropping last year’s captain off the panel. But he has to have gotten advice from his selectors.
“That’s what it looks like to me because in early September, he mightn’t have thought he was going to get the Waterford manager’s job so does he have a huge knowledge of hurling here at the minute. It’s a tough one to understand.”
The only thing Kelly, a Passage club-mate of Connors, can think of is the ages of the 29-year-olds counting against the pair. “It’s hard on the two boys but they (Waterford management) might be looking at younger players.
“I was 31 when I went but you’re 27, 28 now and you’re at inter-county retirement age. But it is a strange one because I know the two lads very well and they’re very professional guys and they look after themselves so well.”