Walter Walsh has been a mainstay on the Kilkenny panel since bursting onto the senior panel with a man-of-the-match performance in the 2012 All Ireland final.
Since then he added another two All-Ireland medals to his back pocket in 2014 and 2015. Since 2015 though, the well has dried up for Kilkenny, as the Marble City now enters its eighth year without winning the ultimate prize in Hurling. You would have to go back over 30 years to find a time exceeding eight years between titles for the Cats, with a nine-year gap occurring between 1983 to 1992. The duct Cody broke from 1993 to 2000 was just seven years, but seems so so long ago.
2015 also seems like a long time ago, and speaking at the launch of the Kilkenny GAA and Glanbia sponsorship in UPMC Nowlan Park, Walsh says while the All-Ireland is always the end goal, he prefers to not look too far into the future;
“When you have had success, especially in the past, you want that again. In Kilkenny, that is always the long-term goal.”
“We don’t look at winning the All Ireland, we look at the next training, the match against Tipperary. The back of your head, you want to win an All Ireland, but there is a lot of work to go in before you can think about it or be in a position to win an All Ireland.”
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The Tullogher-Rosberson man has three All-Ireland titles to his name, however, he has six appearances at the final stage of the Liam McCarthy Cup in Croke Park. Most recently Limerick pipped them by two points in the 2022 decider in what would be Brian Cody’s last game in charge. Kilkenny put on a spirited performance, however ultimately it was not to be, we wanted to know was this Walter’s toughest defeat in the Black and Amber;
“Losing an All-Ireland is not a good feeling. We lost a couple now at this stage, they are all really hard to take. It is the same if you exit the championship, if you lose any game you would be disappointed. “
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Kilkenny started off their league campaign with a win in Corrigan Park against Antrim in the first round. The second round was not as successful, with a six-point loss to Tipperary experienced in UPMC Nowlan Park last weekend. However, the feeling within the camp seems to be positive, with signs of progression being evident to Walter ;
“There are new players being introduced all the time, year on year. There are guys coming in from the under-20s that are strengthening the team and our panel. It is seriously competitive. Ballyhale lads will be coming back after their success, so again there is massive competition. The team is definitely progressing.”
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We also couldn’t stand with a microphone in front of Walter Walsh’s face and not ask him about his 2012 All-Ireland final Man of the Match performance in the Cats’ victory over Galway scoring 1-03 on the day of his debut;
“When I look back, and I do not look back too often, but winning an All-Ireland with the likes of Henry Shefflin, JJ Delaney, and Tommy Walsh, it was mad. It is something I obviously won’t forget and when I finish hurling I will look back a bit more. Even to play and tog out with some of those lads, has been just great. “
Listen back to the full interview below on Scoreline Extra: