Walsh hoping Cork follow Rebel hurlers’ example as they prepare to face down favourites Dublin

Versatile star inspired by memories of the 2010 semi-final victory over the Dubs at Croke Park

Cork’s Aidan Walsh celebrates scoring his side’s goal during their round four qualifier clash against Galway at Croke Park last Saturday. Photograph: Inpho

Cork’s Aidan Walsh celebrates scoring his side’s goal during their round four qualifier clash against Galway at Croke Park last Saturday. Photograph: Inpho


“Looking back I was just a bit naïve. I didn’t really take much notice of it. I still think about it a lot. I remember walking around in the parade in front of the Hill . . . ”

Aidan Walsh has moved up to Dublin since; shares a house with Dublin star Paul Flynn and wants to play football for DCU. Rules and regulations still tangle that process up.

“When you’re retired and finished you look back on those occasions and you hopefully look back with good thoughts, that you gave it your all and you did your best. You just go out the next day and hopefully play to your potential and hopefully that’ll be enough when it comes to the end of the game.”

He is talking about 2010. It was enough that day. Or Dublin threw the All-Ireland semi-final into the arms of Donnacha O’Connor. Take your pick.

Either way, Walsh was this young, marauding midfielder who added the essential ingredient to a Cork team in desperate need of an All Ireland.

A footballer who is really a hurler. A hurley maker, in fact.

“Yeah, tipping away at them. It’s grand. The summer is just training, recovering and doing a bit of work so I’m lucky enough that being your own boss you can do your own hours so I’m happy enough.”

How many Cork hurlers used yours against Kilkenny?

“Lorcán (McLoughlin) and (Anthony) Nash would be the only two. I’m happy enough with that.

Not around
“When I went to Dublin I lost a lot of customers. I wasn’t around to make hurleys and people get frustrated with you then when you’re not around to make them for them. If I was around the whole time I probably would have a few more but it’s difficult being in Dublin.”

Any hassle sourcing your ash?

“No, I don’t. Luckily enough I’ve a good supplier so I’m not too bad.”

From abroad?

“Yeah, abroad.”

How was the ploughing championships?

“I don’t know was it a good experience or a bad experience, it was tough! Yeah it was a good experience to get the name out there. People were coming up and they didn’t believe I was making hurleys. A lot of people didn’t think I was making them myself but it was good to get the name out there really.”

How many would you make in a week? “It depends. Some days I mightn’t work at all. You’d be so tired after training, you’d be trying to recover and stuff.

Made to order?

“Made to order really and any chance I get I try to make as many as I can but it could vary.”

Hurling at the highest level is parked for a while. He is giving football a good belt and the feeling is they need him more than he needs them.

That was evident against Galway last Saturday. Along with Ciarán Sheehan and Pearse O’Neill, Walsh dug the Rebels out of a deep enough hole in the last 10 minutes. His goal inspired his colleagues. And Cork unimpressively moved on.

He knows they won’t hear many Cork yelps tomorrow night. Nothing like the roars out of Semple Stadium last Sunday.

“They showed what intensity and hard work does for a team. No one gave Cork a chance against Kilkenny,” says Walsh.

“We can take a lot of positives from that. We haven’t been playing to our potential. We haven’t played as well as we can so far this year but we know we can if we just produce the goods and it just comes down to who wants it more on the day and just work hard, get the hard hits in and take the scores when you get the chances. That’s what it all comes down to . . ..

“Dublin will be raging hot favourites for the weekend and we know ourselves if we continue to play the way we’ve played so far this year we’ll be under fierce pressure but it’s a challenge.”