Former Cork hurling captain Tomás Mulcahy believes Aidan Walsh can be a successful dual player for the county, but only if he prioritises hurling over football.
Walsh announced in November he would make himself available for Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s side and Mulcahy feels he has a lot to offer.
“It’s very encouraging he is available,” Mulcahy said, ” as he can be an asset to a team that was only 20 seconds away from winning the All-Ireland.
“One thing I have always said though is that it’s easier to go from playing hurling to football than vice versa.
“Aidan was very good when he went back to hurling with Kanturk this year but senior inter-county hurling is a big step up from that. If he is to do well then he needs to apply himself quickly, he’ll have to be in the ball alley almost morning, noon and night.
“He has the physique to be a monster and he would give Cork a great outlet under puckouts but ballwork and stickwork are still the most important things. That was something that was very clear in the hurling championship this year.”
Walsh’s last hurling game in a Cork shirt was the 2011 U21 Munster final defeat to Limerick, when he was man of the match award after scoring eight points from play.
Mulcahy is excited by the potential he brings: “He was a revelation that night,” he said, “and if he can get back to that level it would be a massive boost.
“He will need to make himself available to the hurlers for almost everything.”
With a sharp Walsh available — and if other potential dual players Eoin Cadogan and Damien Cahalane were also to balance their commitments — Mulcahy believes the county will challenge in 2014.
Moving Shane O’Neill to centre-back is one switch he thinks could help them improve.
“The biggest question-mark is probably the centre-back spot as the half-back line struggled at times and that’s such an important position.
“I’m not knocking Christopher Joyce or Stephen McDonnell, who spent time there in the All-Ireland final but I think Davy Fitzgerald had the edge tactically by dropping Tony Kelly deep and it left a gap there.
“You want a dominant presence and if I were to look at it I think that Shane O’Neill could do a great job there. We’ve seen that he’s a wonderful defender but he’s good going forward too.”
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