Shane Walsh has conceded that his proposed capital move came as a “hammer blow” to Kilkerrin-Clonberne – but he’s thankful for the messages of support he has received from within his native club.
he Galway forward is still awaiting a decision from the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) to his controversial application to join Dublin powerhouse Kilmacud Crokes, although it’s understood no official objection was lodged.
The 29-year-old has gone back to college to study for a degree in physical education at Portobello Institute, raising some question marks over whether his mooted club transfer will meet the GAA’s rulebook requirements relating to residency.
Walsh has no idea whether he might get the green light in time for Kilmacud’s next group outing in the Dublin SFC – against Ballinteer St John’s in O’Toole Park this Saturday – amid reports that the CCCC is not expected to rule on the matter until next week.
Speaking yesterday upon receiving the PwC Footballer of the Month award for July, the Galway talisman explained the backdrop to his decision seeking a club switch to his now full-time base in Dublin.
“The most difficult part for me was coming to the conclusion myself. Around March, it probably stemmed in my head, the injuries were starting to happen from the driving element with my hips,” Walsh outlined.
“I was starting to re-evaluate where I was at, and wondering how am I going to sustain this over the next couple of years. It’s not an easy decision to come to because you’re thinking about all the time you put into your club, and all the time you spent down there. I am very grateful to everyone who put time into me.
“Obviously I talked to my family and they would see more of the flak if there was flak. But thankfully, I got a couple of lovely messages from people in the club who were very supportive of whatever happens down the line.
“I appreciate that the most because home is where the heart is. That meant the most.
“Eventually when I had to make the decision, it was right in the heat of the inter-county season and I had to hold that back for myself too which wasn’t easy,” he expanded.
“When I went to the club at the time I did, the purpose behind it for me was to give them as much time coming into their first round of the championship so they could prepare. That was a bolt out of the blue for them and they had to take that hammer blow and pick themselves up.
“I thought that was the fairest thing to do. They won there last weekend and I was delighted for the lads. Please God they will continue doing that.”
On the prospects (seemingly slim) of being able to tog out with Kilmacud this weekend, Walsh admitted: “I’d be lying if I knew. There is a process with this and I’m not great on the technicalities with this. I’m waiting for it to stop or start or whatever the conclusion is. In some ways I thought I might have an update but I don’t.
“There is nothing to discuss about it yet but whether that may change in the next couple of days, I don’t know. Does it go through Croke Park? I think it does. I’m not the first player to transfer clubs and I definitely won’t be the last.”
Whatever club fate awaits, Walsh will press on in the maroon of Galway and he’s hopeful that this year’s renaissance, culminating in All-Ireland defeat to Kerry after a gripping final, will not prove a once-off.
Stressing that he “mightn’t be around long enough to see that day” if Galway are left waiting another four or five years to repeat this summer’s run, he added: “We have to back it up next year. That’s the plan. I think everyone has the appetite whetted after the All-Ireland final. Seeing the build-up, seeing the way everyone got behind us.
“I know for a fact, lads will be absolutely champing at the bit to get back training again and say, ‘Let’s bring this on again, let’s go hard and let’s finish it out this time.’
“So that’s the challenge for us internally, to replicate that kind of commitment, that aspiration to improve. I know for a fact that management will backbone that as well. So, it’s all positive in that sense but again, there’s talking about it but there’s also doing it and I think lads are firmly behind doing it.”