Kilkenny Football Manager Christy Walsh says there should be room at the table for both hurling and football within the county.
Kerry Native Christy Walsh has praised his players in the wake of their victory over New York in the All Ireland Junior Football Final on Sunday.
“We’re only together the last 10 weeks really. It’s a measure of the guys too, what they can do in a short space of time.”
The majority of the squad divide their time between football and hurling.
Despite the tricky balancing act, the Cats persevered and were sweetly awarded, lifting the junior trophy in front of tens of thousands of people at GAA headquarters.
Building on their success
Walsh hopes the inroads made by the footballers can be built upon in the coming years.
“We’re all GAA people and they’re all Kilkenny people.”
“If they want to play it, there is a couple of months in the year where they can tip away at it and that should be looked at as well.”
The football community can often feel like second-class citizens in a county utterly obsessed with the small ball.
However, the Bennisbridge clubman believes that hurling and football can coexist in the Marble City.
As Kilkenny approach their 17th all Ireland since Brian Cody took the reins in 1998, it’s hard to argue that the hurling-focused ethos of Kilkenny County board hasn’t paid dividends.
It is a sad indictment though that football has to be offered up as a sacrifice to further the county’s hurling ambitions.
“They deserve a chance as well.Not everybody can be on the Kilkenny hurling team.”
“We’re GAA people here and they deserve a chance.”
The reality is that there is plenty of footballing talent within the county that has gone completely undiscovered.
“Whatever way you look at it, there is no underage structure for Kilkenny. There is no under 20 team or minor team.”
It takes a lot of character and stoicism to line out for the Kilkenny football team when for decades they have been the butt of so many jokes in GAA circles.
“It’s a measure of the guys that play because Kilkenny Football wouldn’t be top of the agenda for a lot of people.Fair play to them and they got their just reward yesterday.”
All Ireland success provides an opportunity to really look at what the future holds for football in Kilkenny.
“Last Wednesday evening no one knew anything about it.By Friday evening a couple of hundred knew about it and by yesterday and today(Monday) a couple of more people knew about it. “
“It’s up to the Kilkenny County Board and maybe the Leinster Council, the GAA, Croke Park, or whoever to organise all that.”
Although the dream for many schoolboys around the county is to line out for the hurlers, that’s not a realistic prospect for most.
“Not everybody is going to go to Croke Park like the boys next Sunday and good luck to them next Sunday playing for Kilkenny in an All Ireland Final.”
If they can’t do that maybe there’s an option, why not play football for a couple of weeks. That’s all it is. It’s not like it’s a lifelong commitment or anything.”
Listen back to the full interview with Christy Walsh here: