Tommy Walsh expects all the big guns to return for Kilkenny next year
Wing-back says he doesn’t expect any retirements from players or management
At the Liberty Insurance Camogie Final preview press day were Grace Walsh of Kilkenny, supported by brother Tommy. Photograph: Inpho
Tommy Walsh has said he doesn’t expect any retirements from either players or management in the Kilkenny set-up over the winter. Despite their early exit from the championship this summer and the health and injury issues that Brian Cody and Henry Shefflin suffered back in the spring, Walsh expects both of Kilkenny’s pillars to be back in situ in 2014.
“I couldn’t see Brian retiring,” Walsh says. “He loves the game, the two selectors love the game. I’m not going to make any judgments on him but I don’t think they’ll retire, no. I don’t think any players are thinking of retiring. I’ve heard no talk of anyone giving it up.
“As long as Henry’s injury-free, I’d say he’ll definitely come back. He didn’t really do any hurling with us this year so I’d say he’ll be looking forward to going back and actually playing hurling. Hopefully he gets an injury free winter and come the league he actually gets to play matches. That will be good for everyone.”
Walsh was in Croke Park yesterday for a press briefing ahead of the All-Ireland Camogie final in which his sister Grace will be playing for Kilkenny on Sunday week. Astonishingly, this was the first year since 1951 that Kilkenny didn’t get to play a match at headquarters. For Walsh it was his first year without a game in Croke Park since 2000. The idea of walking away from the game altogether on that note doesn’t sit well.
“We don’t talk or think about retirements. We’re after having such a ball over the last 10, 12 years – why would anyone think of retiring? In a few years’ time when you can’t go out there anymore, when you’re just too old or the body’s not able to, that’s the time to be thinking about retiring. But there’s no point in anyone retiring now because get a few years at it and there’ll only be a few more times over the next couple of years that we’ll hopefully get to play in Croke Park. You don’t want it to end.
“There’s no better way to get your hunger up than to look at the matches. We were gone in the quarter-finals and we’ve had to look at two All-Ireland semi-finals, we’ve to look at an All-Ireland final next Sunday. We’ve to read the papers and look at television programmes because we’re all into hurling. So you’re reading all them and you’re watching Up For The Match on Saturday night and there’s no better way to get your hunger going because you’d love if that was you out there.”
Like most of the country, Walsh finds it hard to split the finalists. “They’re two similar teams, they play the ball around rather than going route one. Clare seem to be coming with fierce confidence from their under-21s and they seem to be able to handle the big day. It’s a hard one to call but I’ll go for Clare.”