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Cork defend Walsh's busy schedule

Cork were left with no option but to ask Aidan Walsh to play a full 70 minutes in their Division 1 match in Donegal despite his involvement in two Fitzgibbon Cup games over the same weekend.

The Kanturk man was involved in Cork IT's semi-final win on Friday afternoon as a substitute, before coming off the bench again after just 28 minutes of the final the following day, which went to extra-time and ended in a one-point defeat to UCC for Walsh's team.

He subsequently linked up with the Cork squad, who were staying overnight in Sligo.

The schedule for Walsh has drawn criticism in some quarters amidst concern for player welfare.

However, it has emerged that Cork's other two regular midfielders were unavailable for the game. Alan O'Connor was originally selected but had to cry off because of injury while Nicholas Murphy had a prior business commitment he couldn't be excused from.

A Cork source suggested if either player had been available Walsh would not have been asked to travel. "He did not drive himself. He was driven by a member of the back-room team," said the source.

Walsh played for over 50 minutes, including extra-time, on the Saturday having played for the last 19 minutes in the semi-final.

The dual player only linked up with CIT late in the college season after returning from Australia.

Walsh played the full 70 minutes against Donegal as Cork lost their first League match of the season having beaten Down and drawn with Armagh in the earlier rounds.

They face another away match on Saturday with the trip to Laois forced upon them by the Central Hearings Committee for their part in the fracas during their game with Armagh. Cork are resigned to being without Daniel Goulding and Ciaran Sheehan for the remaining matches in the League.

Irish Independent

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