Walsh returned to action with Kerry in the league, but his playing time was limited in the championship. Cathal Noonan/INPHO
Homecoming King

Begley says 'fantastically talented' Tommy Walsh will shine again for Kerry next year

Allstar forward had to settle for a bit-part role in his first season back in Ireland.

COLM BEGLEY HAS backed Tommy Walsh to shake off any Aussie Rules hangover and have a “massive influence” for Kerry next season.

Walsh was used sparingly by the Kingdom this season following his return from a five-year stint in the AFL.

Begley, who spent four seasons in Oz himself before coming home, knows that it takes time to readjust to Gaelic football.

But he is certain that the Allstar forward’s natural ability will shine through.

“I remember my first year back as well — I had an awful year,” the Laois man said. “It just takes a while to get back into it.

“Different fitness, different body shape. He’ll probably lose a bit of size again and probably get back to being more of an endurance type.

He still has the ability there. He caught some amazing ball in the first game he came on.

“As well, look at the bench Kerry had one of the days. It was outrageous. Any other team he’d be into it straight away.”

It is the ferocious competition in Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s panel, as much as anything else, that restricted Walsh’s playing time this year.

Begley added:

He’s a fantastically talented footballer. There’ll definitely be use for him. I just think it takes a while to get back into Gaelic style and that running type and the movement and marking. I think he’ll have a big effect next year.

“Like I said, in Kerry, it’s so competitive for spots, so many players in the forward line. It’s hard for him to come back in and jump in straight away.

“I still think he’ll have a massive influence next year.”

Announcement of a partnership between Movember, the GAA, and the GPA Begley was speaking at the announcement of a partnership between Movember, the GAA and the GPA. Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE / SPORTSFILE

Begley is again part of the Irish International Rules squad which this year faces Australia in an one-off test in Croke Park.

The visitors have named a strong panel of All-Australian winners for the trip but Begley believes that Joe Kernan will have his side prepared to match them on 21 November.

“Without giving too many tactics away, they’re focused on kick passing to try and use the ball a bit better. Last year we were poor enough, the Aussies gave us a lesson in it.
We’ve got some fast, endurance-type players but we want to use the ball a bit better and try to control the game a bit more.

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