Understated Padraig Walsh breaks tradition in retiring without a statement
Padraig Walsh has taken the unusual step, for a player who had an 11 year career, of retiring from inter-county GAA without making a statement.
The Tullaroan hurler made an understated exit from the game when he confirmed to the Irish Independent on Thursday morning that his time was up.
"There was no big reason or anything," said Walsh.
"I’m starting to feel it in the body. I want to give a few good years to the club," he said.
And that was that.
Kilkenny GAA issued a statement to commend the 31-year-old on a 'stellar career in the black and amber,' and, in the absence of any summation from the man himself, they said that his 'achievements and service to Kilkenny GAA speak for themselves.'
That they most certainly do.
Having made his debut in the League in 2012, Walsh made fast headway in the Kilkenny ranks and was a starter on Brian Cody's team that won the 2014 All-Ireland final replay against Tipperary.
It was in the aftermath of that All-Ireland when Padraig's older brother Tommy called time on his legendary Kilkenny career but as the number five jersey remained in the family, it remained in safe hands.
Over the course of the next five years, Walsh stood out as the exceptional half back in hurling, with his performances feted by All-Star awards in 2016 and 2019.
Renowned for his pace, determination and exceptional air-game, Walsh was also an incredibly accurate shooter with a great knack for a score.
This is reflected in the stat that he has scored in each of the five All-Ireland finals he has started for Kilkenny, and may explain why he often played in the forwards for both club and county.
This versatility also saw him win man-of-the-match for the Irish shinty team in their recent win over Scotland last month.
Walsh will continue to represent Tullaroan in the Kilkenny senior ranks in years to come, having won Kilkenny, Leinster and All-Ireland intermediate titles for them in 2019.
Injuries began to catch up on him in recent times, with his role reduced to that of a sub at the business end of his final year. Perhaps knowing it was his last game, Walsh was in tears after losing this year's All-Ireland final to Limerick.
But as the statement on the Kilkenny GAA website points out, Walsh has more good days than bad ones to look back on.
"Padraig Walsh is retiring from inter-county hurling following a stellar career in the black and amber," read the statement on Kilkenny GAA.
"A pillar of the Kilkenny defence, Padraig has won seven Leinster titles and two All-Ireland’s, along with many other accolades, over the course of his career with Kilkenny.
"On behalf of Derek Lyng & his management team and Kilkenny County Board, we wish Padraig the very best in his retirement from inter county hurling. Padraig’s achievements and service to Kilkenny GAA speak for themselves. "
Sometimes you say it best, when you say nothing at all.
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