Shane Walsh adding significantly to Kilmacud’s cutting edge

Galway All Star has been clocking up impressive scoring figures since he joined Dublin club

It has been a season of firsts for Shane Walsh – a first All-Ireland SFC final appearance, first All Star, first county senior championship success, and now a first provincial senior club title as well.

Just three months ago he played in Parnell Park for the first time, his appearance off the bench for Kilmacud Crokes on September 4th marked his first game since Galway’s All-Ireland defeat to Kerry.

His transfer to the Stillorgan outfit generated plenty of discussion, but in the three months since he first pulled on the purple and gold it has also generated plenty of silverware.

“It’s going well so far,” smiles Walsh, aware his effort at sincerity is laced with understatement.


The 29-year-old has made seven championship appearances for Crokes, scoring 0-34. If you examine only the games in which he played the entire duration, Walsh scored 0-30 in those five outings.

But his tally of 0-9 in Sunday’s Leinster club senior football decider against The Downs – seven with his right, two with his left – was his biggest haul yet for Crokes. And it turns out a pattern is developing when it comes to Walsh scoring nine points at GAA headquarters.

He registered 0-9 against Kerry in July’s All-Ireland final and he also scored nine points for St Jarlath’s of Tuam in the 2011 Hogan Cup decider at the venue.

Walsh went within inches of bettering his innings during the closing stages of Sunday’s provincial final only for his monster free from outside the 45 metre line, kicked against a gale, striking the upright.

“I didn’t even realise I had scored nine. If someone had told me, I probably would have tried harder to kick that over,” he says.

“I think I’m maybe destined to kick only nine in these games! Look, the main thing was we get to continue to the next day.

“I don’t know, it’s funny that I keep on ending up with nine, it was the same in the Hogan Cup final as well. I’ll have another opportunity hopefully to try to improve on that.”

If he does take the elevator to double figures early next year then there is a more than decent chance Kilmacud Crokes will be crowned All-Ireland club champions.

They will be out next on the weekend of January 7th-8th, playing an All-Ireland semi-final against the winners of next weekend’s Munster decider between Newcastle West and Kerins O’Rahilly’s.

When Crokes lost the All-Ireland final to Kilcoo last February, Walsh was still playing with his home club of Kilkerrin/Clonberne in Galway. But, as a student of the game, he had been following Kilmacud’s progress throughout the club championship.

“I was watching the Portarlington and Naas games, I missed the game against Padraig Pearses but I saw the Kilcoo game,” he recalls.

“I knew it was going to be a battle. Kilmacud went well ahead and I suppose the goals got Kilcoo got back into it. They’re tough games to take on board, when you come away from that [result].

“I’ve been there many times myself, probably not at that level of an All-Ireland final but, look, there’s been very little talk about it with the lads.

“Obviously the outside noise has been about getting back to an All-Ireland club final, but we’re all about the next game, the next training session, and that’s it.”

His transfer certainly divided opinion and it is fair to argue that without Walsh, who is teaching in Dublin, Crokes would quite possibly not be spending Christmas as back-to-back Leinster club champions.

But the move sparked such rancour inside and outside the capital that even Dublin CEO John Costello felt compelled to defend the move in his annual report, which was released on Monday.

“Both the player himself and the Stillorgan club were subjected to some derision,” wrote Costello of the transfer.

“At the time, the Dublin County Board were contacted to enquire “What are you going to do about it?” If any player, at any level, whether a very talented one or one less gifted, moves to the country’s capital for work reasons, it is not our role to adjudicate on the matter.

“That’s an economic reality and has been such since Adam first played peil na nóg in the Garden [of Eden] County.

“Shane Walsh is not the first, to put it mildly, and won’t be the last player from outside of Dublin to transfer into the county for professional reasons.”

Walsh’s focus now is solely on trying to add to his burgeoning breakthrough list. From the day of his Crokes debut on September 4th to the Leinster final on December 4th, it has been quite a three-month whirlwind.

“When you get out on the football field to do what you do, you’re always going to enjoy it and that’s the way it’s been and I’ve enjoyed every training session,” adds Walsh.

“There were a couple of weeks there where I had a bit of a virus before our last game but thankfully I got over that. Everyone has just been pushing it on.

“I know a lot of people talk about last year and the Kilcoo final but the lads have just been looking at trying to improve and trying to make each other better.”

Hard to argue Shane Walsh has not already made Kilmacud Crokes significantly better.

Shane Walsh championship scoring stats for Kilmacud Crokes

Dublin SFC group stage v Templeogue Synge Street; 0-1 *{Came on as a 42nd minute sub}

Dublin SFC quarter-final v Cuala; 0-5 (three frees, one mark)

Dublin SFC semi-final v Thomas Davis; 0-8 (five frees, one 45)

Dublin SFC final v Na Fianna; 0-4

Leinster SFC quarter-final v Naas; 0-4 (two frees)

Leinster SFC semi-final v Portarlington; 0-3 (one mark, one free) *{Taken off in the 43rd minute)

Leinster SFC final v The Downs; 0-9 (five frees, one 45)

TOTAL: 0-34

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times