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09th Jun 2023

Ice baths every morning, uddermint, and the other things that keep Aidan Walsh playing dual

Lee Costello

Aidan Walsh

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“I would be running and my quad just kind of went – all of these things that have never happened before.”

Aidan Walsh is one of the last great inter-county dual players, representing Cork at both Hurling and football and playing key roles in both teams. Walsh combined both codes in a manic 2014 season but if he learned one thing from that season, it’s that it just doesn’t work any more.

The demand on the body for any inter county star is huge, but to compete at the highest level in both codes takes a huge amount of drive, commitment and discipline.

Even now that he is retired from the county stage, Walsh still plays both sports for his club Kanturk, and his preparation is no less precise. When he started out as an adult level player, the club were junior but now they are senior in both codes.

He has played a huge part in their ascent, along with his five brothers, two cousins and his father – who is their hurling manager – and he says that getting let-go from the Cork hurling panel in 2020 has only drove on his commitment for his club.

Speaking exclusively on the GAA Hour podcast, the first time that the Cork legend has ever done one, Walsh explains his rigid routine.

Aidan Walsh

“I suppose I’m older now, and at 33 you really have to put a focus on recovery. Just a few weeks ago I bought an ice bath for my back garden.

“So every morning I go for an ice bath, and do all these small things, and I know they are only small percentages, but when you get to my age, any little thing will help.

“Thankfully I’ve been very lucky, I did get my shoulder done in February so I’m only coming back from that, but I’ll try to stay fit for the rest of the year.

“I try to make it a routine, I find it good, I just dip the head under, then in and out, and go at it for the day. I would always be watching things on social media, and the ice baths seem to be the craze at the moment.

Aidan Walsh

“It’s tough going alright, it’s hard to get yourself motivated to go into it, but when you’re in it and out of it, then you’re delighted with yourself .

“I put bags of ice into it, I may need to invest in an ice machine in fairness.”

Back in his Cork days Walsh was a trendsetter in terms of using uddermint to aid his recovery, although it’s more mainstream now, the dual star was always a believer in it. For those that are unfamiliar with uddermint, it’s a cream that is used to treat cows’ udders. He’s found another use for it.

“I still use the udder mint. When the wind hits your legs, then your legs heat up, so it’s kind of more for winter time, and it just keep your legs warm.

“There’s there behind it, but it’s probably all in the head, after you use it, you probably think ‘Jesus, I have that in the legs, the legs will go a little bit faster today.’

Aidan Walsh

“Other than that I would just be a bit superstitious with my socks and boots, make sure that they are tight. Just to make sure that you’re putting yourself in the best position to be comfortable on the pitch.

Playing both codes on and off for so long eventually caught up with The Rebels star, and when he was 18, he was playing  on 19 different teams, in terms of school, minors, u21, hurling and football.

Although he never really had much concerns with injuries early in his career, Walsh believes that this overload of games from an early age affected him later on in left.

“Just noticed that when I was younger, other than a few hamstring problems, I never had anything major, but towards the end there when I was 29 or 28, just weird things were kinda happening.

Aidan Walsh

“I would be running and my quad just kind of went – all of these things that have never happened, I used to get fierce problems with my back, like spasms.

“It mightn’t have had anything to do with it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if playing on all of those teams when I was younger had something to do with it.

“At the end of the day, every manager worries about their own set up, like every manager will try and get the most out of his set up, so if you’re training Tuesday night with one team and another team on Wedsnday night, he doesnt care what happened the night before.

“They are getting better at that like, and I guess you have to kind of go through it, or experience it, to be wise enough to say ‘I’m actually too tired, I can’t train tonight.”

Aidan Walsh

The 2010 All-Ireland winner also has a younger brother on the football team at the moment – Tommy – and he is conscious of passing on is wisdom to his younger sibling.

“You have to be selfish, even with my brother Tommy, I definitely try to influence him with his decision making, because he’s similar, he’s a good footballer, but he’s a good hurler as well.

“He played underage hurling all the way up, but I made sure to tell him that ‘you just pick one now, and focus on that, and don’t do what I did,’ because it was all lovely to call yourself a dual player, and to play hurling and football for Cork, but if I had my time again, would I have stayed at the football – maybe.

“It’s just trying to influence a younger generation and tell them – I wouldn’t say mistakes, but choices like that.”


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