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Daly: Walsh Park decision 'has changed the whole dynamic' of Munster championship

Anthony Daly also confirmed that Rory O’Carroll returned to training with Kilmacud Crokes hurlers last night.

WATERFORD HURLERS RECEIVED a major boost last week with the news that Walsh Park was deemed acceptable to host their home games in the Munster SHC this summer.

Tempers flare between the sides Tempers flare between Waterford and Clare earlier. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Anthony Daly believes the GAA’s decision “has changed the whole dynamic” of the Munster championship. Waterford were forced to play their games at neutral venues last year and finished bottom of the province without a win in their four games. 

The Deise, under new boss Paraic Fanning, will welcome Daly’s native Clare in the opening round of the round-robin phase on 12 May and All-Ireland champions Limerick on 2 June. 

“The whole Walsh Park thing has changed the whole dynamic,” says Daly. “I would have said that Clare were in a fantastic position with Cusack Park being such a fortress. 

“Having Tipp and Cork coming to Ennis, Limerick logistically is lovely and for most of the hurling people it’s nearly easier than Ennis even though it’s away from home, and then we were thinking we’d have Waterford in Thurles. 

“But now we have to go down to Walsh Park the first day and you have Tipp coming to the Park then. So you could be looking like you’re out of it. 

It’s all about getting off to the start and trying to come out of Walsh Park with something is going to be tough.”

With five teams vying for the top three places in Munster to remain in the hunt for the All-Ireland series, Daly is expecting another enthralling provincial campaign.

“I know it was like that in Ennis last year. The atmosphere! I was on the Sunday Game that night nearly crying that I wasn’t in Ennis for the Limerick game. 

“Walsh Park will lend to that sort of thing. A walk-up venue in the City as such. In the roof of the city, you could say. It’s going to be very interesting. 

Renault GAA World Games 2019 Launch Anthony Daly was speaking at the the Renault GAA World Games launch in Croke Park. Source: Eóin Noonan/SPORTSFILE

“In Munster it could go any way. We’ll be doing preview nights in the next few weeks and I don’t know what way I’ll go.

“I’d say all the five managers in Munster are just saying, ‘get me into the three, I’ll take it, whatever about winning the Munster championship’. 

“This Walsh Park thing is after putting a real spanner in the works. Padraic (Fanning, Waterford manager) will be licking his chops saying, ‘Jesus, this is going to be unreal! 11,000 people locked in! Lock the gates, don’t let them out!’”

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Meanwhile, Rory O’Carroll trained for the first time with Daly’s Kilmacud Crokes hurlers last night after returning home from New Zealand. 

The 29-year-old won three All-Irelands and two All-Stars during his career with the Dublin footballers before departing to the southern hemisphere in the winter of 2015.

Jim Gavin celebrates with Rory O'Carroll Jim Gavin and Rory O'Carroll embrace after the 2015 All-Ireland final. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

O’Carroll is still young enough to resume his inter-county career with Jim Gavin’s side, although the Dublin boss has been reluctant in recalling players who’ve returned from abroad mid-season.

A switch to the Dublin hurlers has also been touted for the defender. He’s a talented hurler having won the Dublin SHC title with Kilmacud in 2012, while he was part of the county U21 side that lifted the Leinster hurling crown in 2010.

O’Carroll is in line to feature with Crokes as they begin the Dublin SHC campaign against Na Fianna at Parnell Park next month.

“We had a dark lad back training last night, Rory O’Carroll, how he’ll be now in the next few weeks will be interesting,” said Daly.

O’Carroll’s younger brother Bill is currently part of Mattie Kenny’s county set-up.

Bill is just about getting back from injury now, I think he completed his first Dublin session on Tuesday night. Things are starting to come into play, obviously, things move on for people. 

“They’re a great club and there was a great crowd last night and a great buzz there.”

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Kevin O'Brien

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