Back in September when Cork’s midfield powerhouse Aidan Walsh was starting in his first year in DCU, surely he could not have envisaged the year that lay ahead for him.
The P.E and Biology student came to DCU expecting to be able to line out for the reigning Sigerson cup champions but instead found himself embroiled in an eligibility controversy (that was reported on these pages) along with Donegal goalkeeper Michael Boyle that prevented the pair from playing for DCU.
Admirably, Walsh remained upbeat throughout the year and informed the College View Sport that he has no regrets about moving up to Dublin to attend DCU.
‘A lot of people thought that football was the only reason I came up here but that wasn’t the case at all. To be able to play football would have been nice but it wasn’t the main reason I came here so I’m still delighted with my decision to go to DCU.’
Aidan came to DCU on a sports scholarship and if he cannot compete for the DCU GAA team next year he faces the prospect of losing that scholarship. However, Walsh is adamant that he will come back to DCU next year regardless.
‘I’ll still be able to return to DCU next year. It’ll be that little bit more difficult but I’ll definitely still be returning.’
The absence of Walsh made life that bit more difficult for DCU to retain their crown. The Kanturk man feels that it was the immense hunger of the DIT side that won the semi-final against DCU in the end.
‘DCU are probably one of the main teams in the country and when any team plays them they are always well up for it. DIT were fierce hungry on the day and I suppose when you win the Sigerson, the year after it’s very hard to sustain the same level and obviously teams are setting out to beat you. DIT were just that little bit hungrier on the day and that’s what won it for them, it’s just one of those things.’
On the inter-county scene, Walsh has arguably been the best player in this year’s national football league to date with several outstanding performances for Cork.
In previous years he has had the Sigerson Cup and the Fitzgibbon Cup on his plate as well as the league. However, the All Star feels that he is still as busy this year and that his absence in the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon cups has not in fact impacted on his performances.
‘I didn’t get much rest really. It was only the Sigerson matches that I missed out on to be honest, I was still training with the team and that didn’t really have an effect.’
Many people down by the Lee have linked Aidan’s remarkable performances to the fact that Rebel legend Graham Canty has been his partner in midfield for the majority of the league campaign.
Walsh speaks with great reverence for his captain. ‘He’s an unbelievable player, probably one of Cork’s best ever players. It’s great to have guys like that to be able to learn from and get advice from. We’ve been playing very well together so far and long may it continue.’
Cork have had some terrible luck on the injury front so far this season, particularly in the forward department. Star forward Colm O’Neill recently suffered his third Cruciate knee ligament injury within the space of five years, ruling him out for the season.
Walsh is confident his fellow All Star will be back as good as ever next year.
‘Colm is in good spirits. He kind of has the mentality that it could have been way worse, it could have been a life threatening injury or something like that.’
‘At least he’s come back from injuries like this before. He had the same injury two years ago and he came back the next season and won an All Star award.’
‘It’s going to be a difficult year for him trying to get back but he has proven that he can come back from this injury so there is no reason he can’t come back and be the same player he was before the injury. Overall he is in good form and that’s the main thing.’
Ciarán Sheehan, Patrick Kelly and Donncha O’Connor are also currently on the treatment table but the return from injury of sharpshooting corner forward Daniel Goulding has brought at least some positive news to the Rebels’ camp.
‘Yeah they’re really big losses at the moment I mean if you take such big players out of any team, they would struggle to cope and they’ll all be another few weeks out.’
‘It’s great to have Dan (Goulding) back and obviously it’s going to take another few games for him to get back to the level he’s capable of playing at. Hopefully we’ll get a result against Mayo this Sunday to cement our place in the semi-final.’