“Talent wise he’s as good as there has ever been in Gaelic football"
“I think you can’t… we can’t overstate the skill this fella has.”
From the very minute Shane Walsh burst onto the Galway scene in 2014, he's been tipped for big things. With pace to burn and a seemingly limitless set of footballing skills to match, the Kilkerrin-Clonberne ace has it all going for him.
Fresh from an All-Ireland under-21 triumph in 2013, Walsh as well as Galway were expected make their mark on the senior stage soon after.
But while Galway have in the meantime, knocked on the door, it wasn't really until the 2020 League under Padraic Joyce when they set the footballing world alight with free-flowing football.
And Shane Walsh has been the greatest exponent of that. Playing with freedom and verve, his slaloming runs and individual scores have been nothing short of breath-taking, reminding us all of the God-given gifts the Galway man has.
The dontfoul Twitter account showed off these skills superbly with a clip from the game between Galway and London in last year's championship. Standing over a free, Walsh's biggest concern was choosing which foot to take it with.
Last year on The GAA Hour, Cian Ward and Colm Parkinson summed up his talent brilliantly, with Wooly recalling an amazing anecdote told by Ray Silke.
Wooly: “Talent wise he’s as good as there has ever been in Gaelic football. Talent wise.”
Cian: “Oh I would say so yeah.”
Wooly: “Look when you combine that speed with two feet that are completely equal… I was listening to Ray Silke on the Marty Squad yesterday coming home in the car, and Ray Silke used to teach him and they used to do drills and he’d say, ‘go away and practise on your bad foot this time’ and Shane Walsh stayed on the same foot and Ray kind of gave out to him and says, ‘you’re supposed to be going over on your bad one’ and he says, ‘sorry Sir but I don’t know which of my feet is the weaker side.’ Isn’t that great? In a school’s match, I’m not sure what’s the schools they play with down there, the famous schools?”
Cian: “Jarlath;s is it?”
“Wooly: “Jarlaths. He scored a side-line off his right on one side and off his left on the other side.”
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) June 18, 2018
Cian: “I think you can’t… we can’t overstate the skill this fella has.”
Cian: “He kicked, two brilliant points in the first half off his right foot. If you remember the Mayo game he banged over a brilliant score from long distance off his left. He’s taken frees off the ground with his left foot, you know, and he’s kicking points with… this skill level is just phenomenal, it’s ridiculous like, I mean it’s just so rare to have a player to be able to do these sorts of things. We can all mess about, doing things like kicking 45’s off your bad foot, or messing about, or taking frees off your bad foot. But to actually step up in a game, when the pressure is on, and do it, is just… and then be able to execute, on top of it all, I mean I think it takes incredible self-belief, but it also, more above that, it takes ridiculous talent to be able to do that.”
There's no doubt about it.
You can listen to Cian and Wooly's analysis of the weekend's football on The GAA Hour Show right here.