Walsh desperate to make amends

After the Munster final, Anthony Nash headed off to Albufeira in Portugal for a few days, tweeting a photograph of himself and Tubes from Sky Sports’ Soccer Am programme.

No such luxuries for his Kanturk clubmate Aidan Walsh. His immediate days after beating Limerick consisted of a return to training under Brian Cuthbert with a championship game with the Duhallow footballers thrown in for good measure. What made the transition easier for Walsh was his determination to make up for the reverse against Kerry.

As he said himself: “I suppose if it’s true what they say — that you’re only as good as your last game — we were really screwed after that one because things didn’t go our way and it’s very easy to throw the blame on someone.”

Shane O’Neill, another hurling team-mate of Walsh’s, can’t imagine what it’s like for the dual players of Walsh, Eoin Cadogan and Damien Cahalane to change from one code to the next especially when hurling attracts far bigger crowds. But Walsh, 24, isn’t that bothered.

“I just try to clear it totally from my mind and focus on the next game because whatever happens, happens.

“You can’t dwell on things because that’s when it will begin to eat away at you and there’s no point having a go at yourself because it’s not going to do you any good.”

But for returning to live in Cork where his hurley-making business is thriving, Walsh would likely not be in a position to commit to both games.

Against Kerry, he strained his hamstring in the first half and admits his hips hurt when he kicks the ball.

It helps that Cork’s hurling and football physiotherapists, Declan O’Sullivan and Colin Lane, are best friends and work from the same clinic in Dillon’s Cross.

“I do the football weights and then whatever after that with fitness work. You have to really because that was a tricky thing, because the hurling weights would be different to football. There is a lot of communication. It has to be for it to work.”

A clear run with the footballers into Saturday’s game will benefit Walsh who is facing into the unknown having never faced Sligo or played in O’Connor Park in Tullamore before.

“I would know David Kelly from being in DCU last year and he’s a fierce nice fella and a top class footballer, one of the best footballers in the country, so they are fellas you have to keep an eye on.”

With six changes to the team that lost to Kerry, not everyone will get a chance from the outset to redeem themselves for what happened on July 6.

But for those like Walsh who have the chance, they don’t need to be told they must take it. He also perceives few if anyone is giving them a chance of winning an All-Ireland title after the Munster final.

“We’ve all been around long enough now, played football long enough to know what went on and what we need to improve on.

“No one is giving us any chance of doing anything this year so we’ll just go out with the shackles off and see what happens.”

And if Cork are looking for positives they need only return to 2010 when, as much as they were a more experienced outfit then, they recovered impressively from a Kerry defeat in Munster to be crowned All-Ireland champions.

“We came through the back door and we saw what happened after that. The back door can work for teams so times and it work against them other times. Hopefully if things go well, if things go right the next day you get a run going and then confidence starts building and it’s amazing what kind of things can happen so we’re just going to focus on Saturday.

“As long as we put in a performance and as long as we do what we’re told, everything else will fall into place after that, really. It was disappointing with the Kerry game, we all didn’t perform at all. I’ve no problem losing as long as you put in a performance so it was the performance. To do our all is important.”


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