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09th Feb 2023

Darran O’Sullivan on which former Kerry minor star was built for senior level at just 18

Lee Costello

“He was bullying grown men.”

Former Kerry star Darran O’Sullivan reveals which young minor star was ready-made for the hardship of senior football, even when he was just 18 years old.

This weekend a young Ruairi Canavan was named on the bench for Tyrone in the Allianz National League, and even though he didn’t play, there is a palpable excitement about the future of this young man, particularly as his older brother Darragh is already established in the team.

Speaking on the latest episode of the GAA Hour, O’Sullivan talks about the one Kerry star who had no trouble in the slightest making the jump from minor football to senior level.

Kerry minor

“You would always have had upcoming talent, but Tommy Walsh was probably the one that sticks out because you knew he was ready.

“He was so big and so strong, when you go back over games when he came onto the scene in 2008 and 2009, he was bullying grown men and he was only 18/19 himself.

“He was swinging over points off the left, off the right, 30-40 years – he was running by fellas, he was unmarketable at the time.

Kerry minor

“At my time in Kerry, there was always a couple of players coming through a year or two after minor, and obviously later on you had David Clifford coming on.

“Everyone knew that he was a special talent but still you would be there going ‘look, he’s obviously dominating at minor level, but from minors to seniors is a big step up.’

“Tommy would have been the first, and obviously when David did come through you knew you had something special coming then as well.

Kerry minor

“In terms of the two Canavans from an outsider point of view, it will be great to see the two boys in action together.

“Seeing how lively Darragh was (against Donegal) even taking scores away, his all round play, the buzz, he runs around the place, in and out, the vision to see passes, to add in another player very similar, and have them inside with a ball winner like Cathal McShane around the place is exciting.

“Then with the energy of a Kieran McGeary or a Conor Meyler outside – it should be exciting for Tyrone, obviously last week I had wrote them off.

Kerry minor

“Look, I had wrote them off because we hadn’t seen anything since the All-Ireland, but yesterday (against Donegal) without getting too carried away, was the first time they showed a bit of form over the last 18 months.

“So it will be interesting to see will they kick on now, but look, they’ll be a bit happier now and I won’t be tipping them for relegation again because they will only go and win again next week, but I do think it’s going to be a topsy turvsey league anyway.”

You can listen to the full episode of the GAA Hour, with Darran O’Sullivan, Niall McIntyre and Lee Costello on all streaming platforms, or hit this link: GAA Hour.

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