Tuesday 12 December 2017

Peadar Healy boost as Aidan Walsh makes switch to Cork footballers

Cork's Aidan Walsh will be focusing solely on the big ball. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / Sportsfile
Cork's Aidan Walsh will be focusing solely on the big ball. Photo: Diarmuid Greene / Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Cork's footballers have received a huge boost with the news that two-time All-Star Aidan Walsh is focusing solely on the big ball for 2017.

Alan Cadogan and Damien Cahalane are yet to decide whether they will be playing football or hurling next season.

After a disappointing year, which saw the Rebel footballers relegated to Division 2, Walsh's return will bolster Peadar Healy's squad, with the 2010 All-Ireland winner widely recognised as one of the best footballers in the country before trying his hand with the hurlers in 2015 and 2016.

The Kanturk midfielder attempted the dual mandate in 2014 but after returning to the footballers, along with Cadogan, after Kieran Kingston's hurlers were defeated by Wexford in the All-Ireland qualifiers in July, he has opted to commit to the big ball.

Walsh (26) played in the qualifier loss to Donegal later that month and will be a huge addition to the football set-up, while the door is open for the fleet-footed Cadogan, an All-Ireland U-21 winner, and former dual player Cahalane.

The prospect of juggling two codes has been ruled out for Cadogan or Cahalane, who last played for the Cork footballers in their 2014 All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Mayo.

Speculation surrounds the future of some of Cork's long-serving players in the wake of the loss to Donegal but no-one has yet indicated their intention to retire.

Meanwhile, former Mayo assistant manager John Morrison, who worked alongside Mickey Moran in 2006, has branded the decision to replace goalkeeper David Clarke with Rob Hennelly for Saturday's final replay as "ridiculous".

"He was nervous - can you imagine what it was like for a lad like that with very few games all year then to be told you're in? He knows if he makes a mistake that it's highlighted and magnified so many more times than a player outfield," Morrison said.

Irish Independent

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