Tuesday 24 October 2017

Walsh rules out Kingdom return to sign new St Kilda deal

Tommy
Walsh
Tommy Walsh

Kieran McCarthy

ALL-IRELAND SFC winner Tommy Walsh will not be returning to Kerry football next season as he's set to sign a new contract with St Kilda.

Though yet to make his AFL debut, Walsh (right) came very close to the big breakthrough this year, impressing for St Kilda's affiliate VFL team, Sandringhan.

Walsh, whose initial two-year contact is officially over, confirmed: "I'll be in Australia next year. That's for certain. But I don't know too much more than that at this stage."

The Kerins O'Rahillys clubman -- who made a winning return to the Kerry club football scene on Sunday when he scored 0-2 for his side in their county league win over An Ghaeltacht -- is looking forward to the upcoming International Rules series that starts next month when Ireland travel to Australia.

Having trained with the Ireland squad on Saturday, Walsh is a big fan of the series.

"I think it's a great idea. It nearly filled Croke Park in the second game when it was on in Ireland the last time, so you can't say that there's no interest in it," Walsh said.

"Everybody that does play in it enjoys it. It's a great opportunity for Irish players to represent their country and the same goes for the lads from Australia.

"It's something different. It does have its detractors, but I think it's a great idea and I hope that they persist with it.

"I'm looking forward to it. It will be good to play against some of the lads I know from Australia."

Meanwhile, Walsh is confident that his former team-mates will bounce back from their heartbreaking All-Ireland final defeat to Dublin.

Young Footballer of the Year in 2009, the Tralee native believes that Jack O'Connor's charges have a lot more to offer -- despite being written off in certain quarters.

"Kerry will bounce back. That's a definite. People are always writing this Kerry team off but they keep coming back," Walsh said.

"After 2008 Kerry were written off, but we came back to win the All-Ireland. It was the same in '05 and even last year there were a lot of people saying that this Kerry team were finished, that they were gone after losing to Down in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

"But they came within minutes of winning another All-Ireland this year. They are an incredible team. When you have the likes of Gooch, Kieran Donaghy and Marc Ó Sé, they come back every year hungry for more, and they are as skilful as ever.

"I think they will be right in the thick of it again next year, one of the teams to beat."

Irish Independent

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