The Waterford footballers will be forced to do without two of their top players for the coming season as it has been revealed that Shane Walsh and Gary Hurney will play exclusively for the county hurling team in 2010. This was revealed by new Waterford football manager John Owens who spoke exclusively to ‘The Munster Express’ to explain how preparations for the coming season have been going.
The issue of dual players have been a thorny one in the GAA for some time. Everyone knows the situation in Limerick and Dublin has been far from ideal in the last few years and even this year in Cork there is a possibility that Eoin Cadogan will attempt both codes.
Here in Waterford we’re in the same boat. Last year Shane Walsh and Gary Hurney were used at various points of the season by John Kiely. This season it is unlikely that the two players will line out for the footballers at all as Walsh and Hurney will, for the time being anyway, play exclusively for the hurlers.
John Owens explained the situation: “Gary Hurney and Shane Walsh are playing with the hurlers and as far as that goes that is probably where they will remain. They are two very talented footballers, there is no-one giving them ultimatums or anything like that, but I am 90 percent sure that they are staying with the hurlers and I wish them the very best of luck. That is for the league; maybe the championship will be different. It would be great to have them, they are two Munster players, but in saying that it’s their decision. At the end of the day, you have to respect that. It is hard enough trying to play one code to the best of your ability.”
The former Tipperary player and coach, who works with Pinewood Healthcare in Ballymacarbry, added that despite the fact that most of the grounds around the county have been closed due to the weather, he is more than happy with how training is going. “Preparations have been going very well. We are currently operating with a large panel that will soon be reduced to the standard amount. Altogether we have seen 70 or 80 guys and we are hoping that a number of those will make the step up.”
He went on to give us an insight into how he is preparing his squad for the season ahead. “Since the start of the year, we have had several training sessions. Although many fields have been closed, we have been lucky enough to get St Saviours and Erin’s Own’s all-weather pitches. We had a good number down in Erin’s Own last Friday night in very cold weather.
“The enthusiasm among the players has been great to see. But, the weather has been playing havoc with our preparations. Even today, we were all in our cars on our way to Tramore because we simply could not get anywhere. I had to stop the car just outside Carrick and tell everyone to go on home. We were going to go to the sand dunes but the cold snap put paid to that.”
See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.