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'You’re not going to change the way you play just because of what somebody may be saying on Twitter'

The Kilkenny defender on the recent key issues facing the game of hurling.

Kilkenny hurler Padraig Walsh.
Kilkenny hurler Padraig Walsh.
Image: David Fitzgerald/SPORTSFILE

KILKENNY HURLER PADRAIG Walsh believes the focus by teams on retaining possession is a key factor in the high scoring that has become a standout trend in the inter-county game.

The volume of scores has become a source of debate since the resumption of the 2021 season with the league dominated by teams posting big totals on the board.

There has been calls for changes to the sliotars and hurleys used but Walsh points out that players are more inclined now to find a team-mate with more accurate deliveries.

“You’d hear a lot of talk about the sliotar. I’m not sure how much has really changed, I think lads are just getting more opportunities because teams are playing a more possession style, so people have opportunities to shoot from further out than in previous years.

“The likes or Ronan Maher and Diarmaid Byrnes, you’d have to add fair weight to the sliothar to stop them from hitting it over from 100 yards! I’d say maybe if you did add weight to the sliothar it would change it a fair bit, but I’d say it’s the style of the game more so.

“It could be the type of hurls lads are using, lads might be using heavier hurls. I still use very light hurls, I’ve always used light hurls, so that could be something to do with it instead, or the size of the bas.”

Any criticism over the direction hurling is heading in, is not something Walsh focuses on.

“You probably wouldn’t really be listening to that kind of stuff. You’re not going to change the way you play just because of what somebody may be saying on Twitter. Everyone’s going out to do whatever they think they can do to win the game. I know there’s a lot of negatives going around about hurling at the moment but you just have to get on with it.

padraig-walsh-and-lee-chin Padraig Walsh and Lee Chin in opposition in Nowlan Park. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“I think it’s probably more to do with no crowds being at the games and I think that’s why there might be more frees at the moment because it’s a lot easier for the refs to hear the different tackles and slaps of the hurl and that kind of stuff. Hopefully when the crowds come back to the games that’ll change.

“It’s great now with the camogie at the weekend you’ll have 3,000 people at it so it’ll be great to see a crowd at it. That’ll definitely add to the flow of the game.”

Kilkenny finished their league campaign at the top of Division 1B but will only contest the final against Galway, the winners of Division 1A, if the counties meet in the championship.

“It’s probably too close to play it,” reckons Walsh.

“The league has been fairly hectic there week on week so it’s probably no harm to get yourselves right for two or three weeks and get yourself sorted. In normal times you’d love to play a league final but with Covid and all there probably wasn’t time to fit it in really.”

There will be one Kilkenny-Galway league final of interest this weekend in the Walsh household.

Sunday evening’s meeting in Croke Park will decide the destination of camogie honours, the two teams meeting in a repeat of last December’s championship decider.

Walsh’s sister Grace and cousin Miriam are both in action.

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grace-walsh-celebrates-with-the-injured-katie-power Grace Walsh celebrates with the injured Katie Power after last year's All-Ireland camogie final. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“You’d love to have been there to have seen them because they hurled so well,” says Padraig of last December’s game. 

“We were all delighted that we got to see it on the telly at least and it was brilliant that they won it. It was great for them because they’d a tough few years where they got so close. It was great they finally got over the line. They absolutely deserve it. We could see it first hand at home with Grace and Miriam and the effort they put in.

“It’ll be hard to get a ticket (this Sunday), there’s 3,000 people allowed go but there’ll be huge demand just to see a match. But that’s great for the girls, they get to play in front of such a big crowd, and they fully deserve it.

“Galway and Kilkenny have had such a great rivalry in the last few years, they’ve had great games.”

*****

Littlewoods Ireland is proud to support both Camogie and Hurling for a 5th year running. The Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League final is live on RTE this Sunday the 20th June at 7.30pm while the Division 2, 3 and 4 finals will be streamed live on LWI_GAA Twitter.

The All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship begins Saturday 26th of June #StyleOfPlay.

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