Donnchadh Walsh: Kerry must learn from narrow loss to Dublin in All-Ireland semi-final

Updated: Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 14:16 | Comments

Donnchadh Walsh, pictured with Dublin's Paddy Andrews, at the launch of the 2014 Allianz Football League in Croke Park
Donnchadh Walsh, pictured with Dublin's Paddy Andrews, at the launch of the 2014 Allianz Football League in Croke Park



Cast your mind back to the first day of September in 2013. Croke Park was the venue, as old rivals Dublin and Kerry squared off in the All-Ireland football semi-final.

Many have described it as the greatest game ever played in the code. Absorbing it certainly was, with the Dubs prevailing on a 3-18 to 3-11 scoreline.

The seven-point margin was a little harsh on Kerry. Dublin had that little bit more on the day and it was that little bit that was crucial.

This Saturday sees the counties lock horns again at GAA HQ as the 2014 Allianz League season begins under lights. Kerry’s Donnchadh Walsh, while looking forward to a renewal of the rivalry, can’t help but look back at that defeat to the boys in blue last September.

It’s a reflection that makes him more determined not to be on the losing side in a game like that again.

He explained: “You train for so many hours - almost put your whole life into a game that you love. The outcome of matches can hinge on the slightest thing. Joy and heartbreak can be so closely related to one single incident. Sport is sport and that's the way it is.

“It drives you on to ensure that you're on the right side of those little inches the next day. It's made me more determined that Kerry and I will be on the right side of such tight games in the future." 

"Joy and heartbreak can be so closely related to one single incident" - Donnchadh Walsh

Walsh was speaking to RTÉ Sport at the Allianz League launch in Croke Park.

Kerry started last season’s Division 1 campaign poorly, and Walsh stated the aim would be to get points on the board early and so be competitive at the latter stages.

“Starting the competition well is important and that means you're a bit more confident in what you're trying to implement on the field. The goal is to qualify for the knockout stages.

“We have had our own provincial pre-season competitions. In our case it was the McGrath Cup. In it we played a lot of the college teams and maybe it wasn't as competitive as we would have liked. Losing to Cork in the final wasn't great, but we didn't place too much stock in it.

“The opening round of the league has been our focus and the match against Dublin will be a good indicator of where we’re at at this stage of the year."  

The majority of the support will be cheering on Dublin on Saturday evening, a fact that does not concern Walsh, as he just happy to get the chance to sample the Croke Park experience at this stage of the season.

He added: "I think the more games you play in Croke Park the better and Saturday's game will benefit our squad. Hopefully towards the end of the summer we'll be back there again.

“Having competitive games at Croke Park can only be a plus and to that end having the Dubs as the opposition is perfect.“

Live radio coverage of the Allianz NFL meeting of Dublin and Kerry on An tSraith Náisiúnta from 19:00 on Saturday 1 February on RTÉ RnaG and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide). Live coverage and updates of all the day’s action on Sunday Sport from 14:00 on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide). Television highlights on League Sunday from 19:30 on RTÉ Two and RTE.ie (Ireland only).

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