Thursday 19 September 2019

Cody welcomes back Walsh as he sets sights on 17th All-Ireland final appearance


Walter Walsh. Photo: Sportsfile
Walter Walsh. Photo: Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Brian Cody welcomes towering attacker Walter Walsh back into his starting line-up as Kilkenny look to dethrone reigning champions Limerick in a mouth-watering All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park this evening (6.0).

The Tullogher Rosbercon powerhouse - who missed last year's quarter-final meeting between the same sides through injury - has struggled for fitness this summer but came off the bench with great effect as the Cats booked their place in the last four two weeks ago.

Walsh looked razor-sharp when introduced as a half-time substitute against Cork and fired three points with his inclusion the only change from their defeat of the Rebels, with last year's captain Cillian Buckley losing out.

Cody has been hampered by injury problems throughout this championship campaign but has nearly a full deck to choose from as the Kilkenny boss eyes his 17th All-Ireland final appearance since taking over for the 1999 season.

They face a formidable task, however, against a Limerick side holding the league, Munster and All-Ireland crowns with over 50,000 expected to descend on GAA HQ tonight as John Kiely's Treaty bid to get one step closer to back-to-back titles.

A whopping 65,000 - the biggest of this year's championship - are expected at the Jones' Road venue tomorrow for the meeting of Leinster champions Wexford and Tipperary with opposing managers Davy Fitzgerald and Liam Sheedy set for an intriguing sideline battle.

Sheedy has made two changes from their lacklustre quarter-final defeat of Laois with Barry Heffernan replacing Alan Flynn in defence, while Michael Breen is restored to midfield as Ger Browne makes way.

That means none of last year's All-Ireland U-21-winning side or the U-20 squad which claimed Munster honours in thrilling fashion on Tuesday feature in the starting 15, with several named among the substitutes.

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Sheedy has placed his faith in experience during his second stint at the helm and the Premier maestro will hope his faith is repaid with a place in the All-Ireland decider having left the post following their 2010 All-Ireland success.

Tipperary are likely to be greatly outnumbered by a fanatical Wexford support as Fitzgerald looks to work the oracle and book an All-Ireland final berth as manager with three different counties and guide the Model back to hurling's biggest day for the first time since they last lifted Liam MacCarthy in 1996.

Meanwhile, Galway GAA is mourning PJ Qualter, one of the pillars upon which their hurlers made the breakthrough in 1975 - a win which would lead to three All-Ireland senior titles in the 1980s.

Qualter, a native of Turloughmore, was a prolific coach when retiring from the game, while his son Seamus also enjoyed huge success on the sidelines as manager with Westmeath and Roscommon.

Irish Independent

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