Friday 15 December 2017

Walsh ready for 'exciting' challenge with hurlers

Aidan Walsh, Cork, breaks away from Donnchada Walsh, Kerry
Aidan Walsh, Cork, breaks away from Donnchada Walsh, Kerry
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Aidan Walsh will join the Cork hurlers for his first training session tonight, having signed up for a dual role this year.

He made a good start to the season with the footballers on Sunday when they beat Kerry in the McGrath Cup final and is now looking forward to a new adventure with the hurlers.

"It's exciting. It's something I've been thinking about for the last few years and now I'm looking forward to the new challenge," said Walsh.

How Walsh divides his training time between hurling and football will be decided by respective managers Jimmy Barry-Murphy and Brian Cuthbert. "We haven't really talked about it yet," said Walsh.

His arrival in the hurling camp will provide Barry-Murphy with a big boost as he attempts to increase his side's ball-winning capacity, especially in the half-forward line.

FRESHNESS

The football panel has undergone significant change since last year, following the departure of manager Conor Counihan and the retirement of several of the team which won the 2010 All-Ireland title.

"All the guys coming in are bringing a real freshness to the place. There's no doubt we're all going in the right direction; we've got a winning mentality in the group," said Walsh.

He celebrates his 24th birthday this week but is already one of the more experienced squad members.

That brings added responsibility, but he believes his colleagues are feeling the same. "With our biggest leader, Graham Canty, gone, we'll all have to step up to the mark," said Walsh.

Meanwhile, Tipperary corner-back Paddy Stapleton is facing a race against time to make the start of the league after pulling a hamstring in training last week. And a heavy training week has also left manager Eamon O'Shea monitoring hamstring strains picked up by key forwards Shane Bourke and Patrick 'Bonner' Maher.

Bourke missed the Waterford Crystal Cup quarter-final victory over Kerry on Sunday after he was injured during an internal training match on Saturday.

Maher was taken off as a precaution with 18 minutes remaining against the Kingdom.

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