Monday 16 September 2019

'There's a case to be made for throwing him in at the start' - The Throw-In panel discuss Tommy Walsh's final chances

Will Kerry boss Peter Keane start Tommy Walsh in Sunday’s decider? Photo: Sportsfile
Will Kerry boss Peter Keane start Tommy Walsh in Sunday’s decider? Photo: Sportsfile

Tony Considine

For Kerry’s Tommy Walsh, Sunday represents the opportunity to square off a circular journey that began over a decade ago.

Having collected a Celtic Cross as a 21-year-old, with his four points in the 2009 final vital as the Kingdom exacted revenge on their Munster conquerors from earlier that season, Cork, Walsh was ensconced down under by the time Dublin finally broke their Kerry hoodoo two years later.

He was also missing when the Green and Gold won their last crown in 2014, as he finished up a five-year AFL stint that took in spells with Melbourne’s St Kilda and Sydney Swans.

And although he was back in the Kerry fold for their 2015 final defeat to Sunday’s opposition, he saw no game time in the final, watching the 70 minutes from the bench.

The lack of action, coupled with injury struggles dating back to his AFL days, meant his departure from the panel in 2016 raised few eyebrows.

Most of the focus on Kerry boss Peter Keane since his appointment 11 months ago has been on how he’s managed bringing his hugely successful minor graduates into his squad.

But his call to arms to bring Walsh and fellow veteran Jack Sherwood back on board proved to be inspired with both players instrumental from the bench in the second-half semi-final comeback win over Tyrone.

And with Walsh back making a difference, the prospect of Keane giving the Kerins O'Rahilly's clubman a start on Sunday is one worth consideration according to Irish Independent GAA correspondent Martin Breheny.    

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"I don’t think they’ll go with him from the off but it would be very interesting if they did," Breheny told The Throw-In,’s GAA podcast in association with Bord Gáis Energy.

Tommy Walsh and Jack Sherwood embrace after beating Tyrone. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
"What do you do? Do you wait and hope that things are still going okay at some stage in the second half as they were against Tyrone. Or if you find yourself seven or eight points down is there much point in bringing him on?

"I think there’s a case to be made for throwing him in at the start. In other words, try to set the agenda and worry later on about what might happen then.

"But if you fall six or seven points down then sending him on to chase it? I’m not sure.

"I think it would be very interesting to see him in there from the start right on top of the Dublin full-back line. Bear in mind, he’s played in big games in Australia as well. He knows what a big occasion is. He’s had vast experience at AFL level.

"I thought he turned the game in the semi-final against Tyrone. He knows how to break up play, he’s strong. From a neutral viewpoint for the game, I’d love to see him in there."

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