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03rd Aug 2022

“I just can’t agree with it” – Darran O’Sullivan critical of Shane Walsh’s transfer to Kilmacud Crokes

Lee Costello

“Every young lad at his club wants to play with Shane Walsh.”

Shane Walsh undoubtedly has a bit of ‘Premier League star’ aura about him – one minute he’s in the papers because everyone is criticising his form, then the same papers are claiming that he’s the best thing since sliced bread following a wonderful performance, and now it’s because of an ongoing transfer saga.

Paul Pogba wouldn’t have a look in, but of course the GAA is a very different world to that of the Premier League and there are many more complexities to deal with when it comes to club transfers; something which is not very common in Gaelic football.

After his incredible performance in the All-Ireland final, Walsh – who lives and studies in Dublin – has made it public that he wants to move from his hometown club, to the giants that are Kilmacud Crokes.

Speaking on the GAA Hour, Darran O’Sullivan makes the point that these sort of transfers are only really acceptable when you’re past your best and the club isn’t so reliant on you.

Cian Mackey was also a guest on the show – someone who transferred from his home club in Cavan to Mullinalaghta in Longford.

“I think that’s different,” said the Kerry legend when discussing Mackey’s transfer.

“When fellows retire from the county game and you look at Tomás Ó Sé when he went to Nemo, but Tomás was in his 30s, I just think Shane Walsh is at the top of the game nationwide; he’s 29, at the peak of his powers.

“Every young lad in Galway wants to be Shane Walsh at the moment. Every young lad at his club wants to play with Shane Walsh. 

“You can imagine 12, 13 and 14-year-olds thinking, ‘in three or four years I’ll be training with Shane Walsh’. It’s not far away, I just can’t agree with it to be honest.

“I don’t know who is advising him or what, he’s not that badly stuck injury wise, and like that, he wouldn’t be expected to travel down for training every week anyway.”

“Look, everything involved with a transfer, is not black and white,” replied the Cavan legend.

“I’m sure there’s loads of different things that’s involved with it, but you’re saying he wouldn’t be expected to train – if they’re training to win a championship, every manager is only concerned by his team.

“No matter what, there’s a manager probably in that team there to win a championship with his club. 

“He doesn’t care if Shane Walsh isn’t able to play in two years’ time because of an injury, he wants Shane Walsh winning now for him. He will want him training at the peak of his powers, he will want him travelling that two and a half, three hours on a Tuesday and a Friday, and a Sunday for the whole summer. He’s probably doing it all the time.

“We don’t know the ins and outs of what’s going on, probably putting out a statement just didn’t help the situation. It was a bit strange and [he’s] probably not having the best people around him advising him and doing that. 

“But, there’s probably loads of different reasons for it. He’s living in Dublin and look it, transfers happen in the game, probably the biggest thing is he’s still in his prime.

“He’s still probably capable of carrying his club nearly on his own. Whereas if he went in two, three, four years’ time, when he’s 32 or 33, then it’s someone else’s job then to carry the club, do you know what I mean? Then it doesn’t come across as bad.”

“Without poking the bear, because you’re very close to me, you transferred – what was the hardest thing, was it the connection with the club?” asked a hesitant O’Sullivan.

Mackey responded: “You grow up, you play with players, you make friends for life who you don’t want to let down, you don’t want to let players down that you played with your whole life.

“That probably is the hardest thing, letting down the players, and they obviously see – ‘aw there’s so much more in you, we need you, we want you’ – and then you’re feeling sort of ‘Jesus I’m kind of goosed here, I nearly want a backseat to be taking here’ – like I don’t have the energy to be constantly going to the well.

“You still want them boys to win and you want to be able to help them, but sometimes there are just different things that go on in your life, and outside of football that just makes it that wee bit easier.

“We don’t know what’s going on in Shane Walsh’s life, he could have commitments here in Dublin that we don’t know about, and this is just easier for him.”

You can listen to the full discussion on the GAA Hour now.

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