Aidan Walsh will play senior hurling and football for Cork in 2014.
Walsh, a dual minor and U21 star for the county, has received the backing of new football boss Brian Cuthbert to join up with Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s squad next season.
Walsh, an All-Ireland winner in 2010, has concentrated solely on playing senior football but feels the time is right to attempt to play both codes at the top level. He said: “I’m very excited. It’s something that has been on my mind for the last few years, I’m 23 now so I’m probably at the age when I can give it a go for a few years. I’m back at home as well so that’s a help too. There’s only a short period of time when you can combine them. I had decided that if Jimmy asked me to play hurling then I would. I was talking to him recently and when he’d asked if I’d be interested I said I’d love to give it a go.”
Walsh starred as Kanturk won the Cork IHC title last Sunday week and the club are still involved in the intermediate football championship. He accepts a dual intercounty career is a different challenge to the demands at grassroots level. “I know that it’s going to be hard, it’s difficult to play one sport at the top level so two will be tough,” he said.
“I’m willing to give it a go though and Jimmy and Brian are both happy with the arrangement, they have discussed it and there will be plenty of co-operation. Once they’re happy I’m happy, I don’t think it’ll be the case that I’ll be pulled from pillar to post.”
New Cork football boss Cuthbert – who had experience of dealing with dual commitments while in charge of club side Bishopstown – was fully behind Walsh’s decision when he informed him.
“I talked to him about it and he was fully supportive,” Walsh said.
“He was willing to accommodate me playing hurling, but I made it clear football is still the number-one priority. If there is a clash then football will be the choice but, hopefully, the scheduling will mean that it won’t be a problem.”
Walsh was also happy to pour cold water on claims that he was also on the verge of joining an AFL team in Australia.
“People have been saying that to me, but I haven’t a clue where it came from,” he said. “My focus is totally on Cork.”
Meanwhile, Munster Council chairman Robert Frost visited Walsh Park in Waterford city yesterday – following a request from Déise officials that next summer’s Munster SHC clash with Cork be staged there.
Frost ran the rule over a venue that could be upgraded to a capacity of 17,000, as Waterford chiefs target a home showdown with the Rebels.
But while Frost was impressed by the ongoing work at the ground, he hinted that it may be some time before Walsh Park is ready to stage a fixture of championship magnitude.
He met with a Waterford county board delegation, led by chairman Tom Cunningham, to discuss the prospect of a first Munster SHC clash at Walsh Park since Kerry visited in 2003. Frost said: “They’re doing a good bit of work down there but no decision will be made for a while. To be fair to the Waterford board, work is progressing and I was impressed by what I saw. But while a lot of work has been done, there is more to do.”
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