First things first, Aidan Walsh doesn’t regret a second of it.
Wearing the Cork jersey on two fronts was an experience he will for the most part remember fondly.
“This year was great. It’s always great to be involved with both panels because they are both a terrific bunch of lads on both sides.
“That’s what makes it much harder to pick. Whoever you don’t pick you are going to miss out on. I am with the footballers for the last five or six years and I am great friends with all of them. I’m with the hurling for one year and having [Anthony] Nash and [Lorcán] McLouhglin in the panel as well, two clubmen, that’s a very hard decision to make. My head will be wrecked now for the next few weeks, I’d say.”
He doesn’t think dual playing is an impossible feat either. Haven’t he and the likes of Eoin Cadogan proven that already? But getting the best out of himself in both codes at the same time? Yeah, it was futile but he was aware of that. He also became cognisant of resentment among team-mates he was being picked ahead of when his attendance record at training was poorer.
“I would say it’s impossible to play both codes at 100% so you’re not going to play at your full potential. That’s not possible in today’s game and the way it’s gone. At the start of the year, I knew that was going to be the case: I wasn’t going to be 100% at both of them.
“At the back of your mind, you’re thinking the other players in the squad are saying ‘how can this man do 50% of the training and I do 100% of the training and he’s on before me’, so there’s a bit of anger there. If I was in their position I’d be the same. If a fella’s coming in for half the session and getting on the team. All those things were part of it too but it’s impossible to play 100% at both.
“This year having drawn against Waterford [in hurling], the preparation for the football wasn’t great because we’d two hurling games and then the Clare game so that was four or five weeks of hurling and I only got a week before the Tipperary [football] game and then two weeks for the Kerry game. You’re only there for half the time so obviously your preparation can’t be great.”
The two revealing moments came in Croke Park, the first in the All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Mayo.
“When we played Mayo here, the ball was on the ground. Usually the ball kind of bounces and I was thinking ‘will I put my toe under it or will I pick it up?’ I wasn’t used even to handling the ball.”
Then came the hurlers’ semi-final defeat to Tipperary in which he was benched in the second half.
“In the dressing room, even when I came off the field and into the dugout I put my head down and said ‘it’s not worth it’. Jimmy [Barry-Murphy] came over and shook hands and I said that I was sorry, that it hadn’t been good enough. We had played so well in the Munster championship and then not to perform against Tipperary wasn’t acceptable and wasn’t good enough.”
He admits Barry-Murphy staying on will be a factor he will have to consider in his judgement but then speaks of the footballers as if he will be one of them next season.
“We know ourselves we are not far off it, we know the football is there and we have the team that can produce the goods. We played that Kerry team, I know it’s the league, but we played them in Tralee and played outstanding football. It’s just to do it at the vital times and the vital periods of the game.
“Talking to a lot of the lads, they are all looking forward to the coming year. Fellas are a year older and there are a group of lads in 2010 who are coming into their late 20s. They all want to produce the goods. That’s something that is pushing this forward.”
Walsh was speaking at the launch of Best Menswear’s partnership with the GAA and GPA in Croke Park yesterday.
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