'I asked the mother to lock him in the bedroom on Sunday morning but she wouldn’t do it'

All-Star defender willing to fight for his place after slipping down the Kilkenny pecking order.

Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

TOMMY WALSH WILL do whatever it takes to win back his Kilkenny place — even if it means locking up his own brother.

The All-Star defender hardly got a look-in this spring and played just 80 minutes as the Cats captured their third straight National Hurling League title.

Younger brother Padraig, 22, is one man currently ahead of him in the pecking order thanks to his own determined displays in the half-back line and midfield.

Walsh — who has made the Kilkenny number five jersey his own for the last decade — joked that he might have to take drastic measures before the Leinster Championship opener against Offaly on 7 June.

“I asked the mother to lock him in the bedroom on Sunday morning but she wouldn’t do it! I might have to go up there and do it myself the next time!

“Ah no, he’s going well, and all the new players have gotten their chance.

You’ll only know if they’re good enough if you throw them in there. Thankfully we’ve got huge games in this league, none bigger that the league final against Tipperary in Thurles in front of a huge crowd.

“We found out that we have new players who will be able to produce it on the big day. It’s a great confidence booster for the team and those players themselves.”

Padraig Walsh and James Woodlock Padraig Walsh is one of the players ahead of Tommy in the pecking order. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Walsh, who has eight All-Ireland titles so far in a glittering inter-county career, has only missed one championship game since making his senior debut in 2003.

That was in 2011 against Wexford when he was recovering from a shoulder injury.

But the 30-year-old refuses to sit about moping and feeling sorry for himself.

“Any hurler worth their salt wants to be playing on the team and wants to be out there on the field.

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“But if you’re not picked on the team you can’t be selfish, you have to think of the team.

“At the end of the day it’s a team game so our focus is just on supporting the other lads but in training you obviously train as hard as you can to try to get on the team.

I think the way it has always been since I was on the panel anyway is that Brian has picked the players that are in the best form at the time. That has never changed.

“It’s great for the panel in so far as everyone knows that Brian and the management team won’t be going on reputations They’ll be going on the guys that are playing the best at that particular time.

“It just keeps everyone on the panel honest and gives everyone hope that they can get out there on the field. That’s great for the squad.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe I could still play. I’ll be training as hard as I can over the next few weeks.”

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Niall Kelly

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