Walsh ready to follow the one code for success
2013 Football League:He may not realise it but Aidan Walsh provides the perfect microcosm of the modern game – a player somewhat torn between two codes, as naturally talented as he is physical, trying to please a few masters, and occasionally lost by some of the GAA bureaucracy.
In town primarily to promote his involvement with champions Cork as they begin the defence of their Allianz Football League – for the fourth successive year – Walsh’s immediate concern is whether he’ll also be lining out with DCU, in the Sigerson Cup, as an appeal against his ineligibility is being heard by the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA), a situation which Walsh politely describes as “annoying”.
The problem is a previous course which Walsh began in Cork IT, but dropped out of after five months, was still counted for Sigerson purposes, which means he’s no longer got third degree football eligibility:
“The vibes seem to be good, that it will come through, but it’s hard to know,” he says. “But when I signed up for this course, it wasn’t there, wasn’t implemented, so that’s disappointing. So it’s kind of annoying, I just want to get the verdict, move on. If I can’t play, I can’t play. It’s not nice for the lads on the team either.”
Walsh has already played a couple of challenge of games for DCU (where he’s studying PE and biology) – lining out at full back, interestingly – and is by coincidence sharing an apartment with Dublin’s Paul Flynn, who he’ll likely face-off against when Cork begin the league title defence on Saturday week, in Croke Park, on the opening double-bill with Donegal-Kildare (with both games live on Setanta).
Commuting from Dublin
It means he’ll be commuting from Dublin to Cork for much of the spring, but like most footballers these days, he is just keen to get back playing on a regular basis: the changes to Conor Counihan’s backroom team have given the panel a fresh injection of enthusiasm, and Cork will be going all out to defend their title.
“The league is very beneficial, especially for the younger fellas coming through, a great stepping stone to the championship. We always take the league seriously, and will do the exact same this year. And it’s my fifth year on the panel now. The likes of John Miskella, Anthony Lynch, Nicolas Murphy are gone, and the years don’t be long going, and we’ll have to step up this year.”
He’s not getting any younger, in other words, and Walsh – who won his second All Star at midfield last year – still thinks about going back to hurling, possibly his first love, yet realising too it is now impossible to combine both codes at senior level, citing the example of Eoin Cadogan who has just opted out of hurling and will play football only for 2013.
“One thing that set me back from trying to do it is that being from an intermediate club, I play with my division in senior hurling and football, so that’s two extra teams. But Eoin, coming to training, used to be crippled; some days he wasn’t able to train. He wasn’t doing himself justice in that sense.
“In my own opinion I thought he probably would have picked hurling but I’m delighted that he picked football. We’re lucky this year that we’ve got Damien Cahalane, too, one of the finest footballers in Cork.”
The question then is why football seems to be taking precedence in the so-called dual counties? “Looking at Cork, the last few years, football has been the strongest. We’ve won a bit, and I suppose before that hurling was the strongest, and the tables have turned now. I was approached about it, alright (to play hurling) but I said to myself straight away that football was going to be number one again this year. I’d still love to have a cut off it, the hurling, if they would still like me to be on the hurling panel.
“Growing up I’ve always loved hurling, but said football was going to be number one again this year, especially after last year, the disappointing finish; you have things you want to improve on.”
Munster Colleges SF A (Corn Uí Mhuirí) Quarter-finals (all 1.30pm) – Col áiste Chríost Rí, Cork v West Limerick, Mallow; St Brendan’s, Killarney v St Flannan’s, Ennis, Charleville; DLS Macroom v St Fachtna’s, Skibbereen, Ballineen; PS Chorca Dhuibhne v Rochestown College, Cork, Killarney.
Leinster Colleges SF A (Round Two) – Dundalk Colleges v Good Counsel, Newbridge, 1pm; Coláiste Eoin v Patrician Newbridge, Col áiste Eoin TBC, 2pm; St Mel’s, Longford v St Peter’s, Wexford, Portlaoise Area, 2pm; Salesian Celbridge v Athlone CC, Celbridge, 1pm; Portmarnock CS v St Mary’s Edenderry, Portmarnock CS, 2pm; Knockbeg College v St Joseph’s, Rochfortbridge, Dr Cullen Park, noon.
Waterford Crystal (SH) Quarter-final – Kerry v Limerick IT, Abbeydorney, 7pm.
Connacht Colleges SF A – St Colman’s College v Roscommon CBS, Connacht GAA Centre, 12.30pm.
Walsh Cup (SH) Quarter-final – Dublin v UCD, Parnell Park, 7.30pm.
O’Byrne Cup (SF) Final – Dublin v Kildare, Parnell Park, 7pm.
Walsh Cup (SH) – NUI Galway v Kilkenny, O’Loughlin Gaels, 2pm.
Hastings Shield Final – Leitrim v Roscommon, McGann Park, 2.30pm
Leinster Colleges SF A (Round Two) –
Coláiste Mhuire, Mullingar v Marist, Athlone, Mullingar, 2pm; St Pat’s, Navan v Moate CS, Navan, 2pm.
McGrath Cup (SF) Final – Kerry v Tipperary, Seán Treacy Park, Tipperary Town, 2.30pm.
Waterford Crystal (SH) Quarter-final – Cork v Waterford IT, Páirc Uí Rinn, 2pm.
Dr McKenna Cup (SF) Final – Monaghan v Tyrone, Athletic Grounds, 7.30pm.
All-Ireland Club IHC Semi-final – St Gabriel’s v Killimordaly, Birr, 1pm; Silvermines v Clara, Portlaoise, 2pm.
All-Ireland Club JHC Semi-finals – Bredagh v Fullen Gaels, Parnells GAA Club, Coolock, 1pm; Kildorrery v Thomastown, Cashel, 2pm
All-Ireland Club IFC Semi-final – Charlestown Sarsfields v Cookstown Fr Rocks, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, 2pm; Finuge v Monasterevan, Gaelic Grounds, Limerick, 2pm
All-Ireland Club JFC Semi-final – Ballinasloe v An Port Mór, Kingspan Breffni Park, 2pm; Castleknock v Kenmare Shamrocks, Mitchelstown, 2pm.
Walsh Cup (SH) Quarter-final – Wexford v Offaly, Blackwater, 2pm; Carlow v Galway, Carlow, 2pm.
Walsh Shield (SH) Semi-finals – DIT v Westmeath, Kinnegad, 2pm; Laois v Antrim, Rathdowney, 2pm.
Kehoe Cup (SH) Quarter-finals – Armagh v Meath, Navan, 2pm; DCU v Wicklow, Bray Emmets, 2pm; Derry v GMIT, Celtic Park, 2pm; Louth v Kildare, Darver, 2pm.
Kehoe Shield (SH) – Fingal v St Patrick’s College, Lawless Park, Swords, 2pm; Trinity College v Roscommon, Dublin Venue, 2pm.
Connacht FBD League (SF) Final – Sligo v Leitrim, Markievicz Park, 2pm.
Waterford Crystal (SH) Quarter-finals – Tipperary v Limerick, MacDonagh Park, Nenagh, 2pm; Clare v University of Limerick, Sixmilebridge, 2pm.