Donnchadh Walsh has confirmed he will return to the Kerry set-up for the latter stages of their Division 1 campaign.
The 33-year-old is busy organising Sunday’s inaugural Balance Expo in Killarney, on top of his job as a physiotherapist, while also training with his club Cromane. It means the new season schedule and structure presents a change of tack for Walsh.
“Any plan I make out for myself or one that Éamonn Fitzmaurice] and I discuss will be hard to implement, because everything is so new this year.
“For the moment, my own club are involved in a Munster “B” novice championship semi-final on Sunday week. I’m playing away with them. After that then, Éamonn isn’t expecting me back for the early rounds; he would like me to be in shape for the latter end of the league. I haven’t sat down with [strength and conditioning coach] Joe O’Connor yet, but that will be happening.”
Walsh, entering his 12th season with Kerry, says his professional background has contributed to his longevity.
“Being a physiotherapist is a huge help to understand training and how to get the best out of my body. In general, people don’t have a huge understanding of human anatomy and physiology and you’re going on the advice of medical teams and doctors and them trying to communicate that to you, and then managers have a different opinion. It’s only in the last few years that they’re actually starting to listen to medical teams. Often before, it was what the manager said and he made the call on whether a player lined out or not.”
Walsh hopes events like the expo will raise awareness of the need for the Government to invest more in promoting physical activity.
“I was at a talk recently given by Niall Moyna and he said that governments need to keep promoting physical activity among the whole population. Certain sports bodies deal with the elite performers and are providing them with the facilities to become even better and that’s brilliant, but facilities need to be provided for people who aren’t physically active.
“The benefits to the population are huge. The weather mightn’t be conducive, but this is the time of the year when we need all-weather pitches, flood lighting, dressing rooms, etc. I know the Government are good at investing in clubs and they are recognising the issue more, because PE is being put on the Leaving Cert syllabus, but much more can be done.”
Derek McGrath, Kieran Donaghy, Derval O’Rourke and O’Connor are the star attractions on Sunday, but Walsh is looking forward to hearing the advice of Bon Secours Hospital Tralee’s orthopaedic surgeon Eimear Conroy and specialist physiotherapist Dr Derek Griffin.
“A lot of the other speakers have profiles in the media, but Eimear Conroy and Derek Griffin are leaders in the health field for orthopedic and physiotherapy. Having them at an event like this is so important, because of their message and the benefits of physical therapy. When you hear it coming from them, it just holds so much water.” ·
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