Walsh vows to bounce back after 2012 dip
Tommy Walsh has delivered a personal challenge to himself to improve on his 2012 form that he admits was "hugely disappointing."
For the first time in his 10-year inter-county hurling career, Walsh did not pick up an All Star award after recognition in the previous nine years.
And he has no axe to grind with the selection committee either, acknowledging that he "didn't play well enough to get one."
Walsh (pictured) has been imperious as a defender throughout all of his senior career, the only hurler to win All Stars as a defender, midfielder and forward.
But he has vowed to get his house in order again in 2013 and correct what he felt were slipping standards.
"I wasn't hugely disappointed that I didn't get the All Star. I was hugely disappointed that I didn't play well enough to get one, because I didn't deserve one on my performances last year," he admitted.
"Hopefully this year I'll pick up because the first thing you look at before you do anything or win anything with your team is your own performance.
"You want to do well every day you go out, and this year I'll be hoping that I'll be able to pick it up again because I didn't hurl terrifically well last year.
"I definitely didn't hurl well. Once or twice maybe I did, but other than that it wasn't that I was hurling badly – I just didn't feel I was hurling well.
"The be-all and end-all is that it's a team sport. Other lads performed well on a given day and lucky enough there were enough Kilkenny lads doing it.
"But I was very disappointed with my performances."
"There's no underlying reason or injury, it was just the way it worked out. It is hard to put your finger on it. I would be trying different things during the year but they didn't work out."
Walsh says that this is the time of the year – not July, August or September, when the biggest games kick in – that he looks forward to most.
"This is my favourite time of year because you are playing matches. Once the first match started last Sunday in the inter-pros, we'll be playing nearly every week probably for seven, eight, nine weeks," he said.
"They're all huge matches, so you are so fresh from a winter of doing nothing and you are really hungry."
Reflecting on last September, Walsh feels Kilkenny's comeback in the drawn All-Ireland final ranks up there with the most satisfying games of his career.
"We were five points down and then in the five-minute period before half-time we were under savage pressure, so it was absolutely unreal to come out of it. That period before half-time was the most satisfying part, because we were dead and buried at one stage."