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Tommy Walsh Relishing All-Ireland Semi-Final After Alternative Route To Croke Park

Tommy Walsh Relishing All-Ireland Semi-Final After Alternative Route To Croke Park
By Michael Bolton Updated
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Ahead of this weekend's All-Ireland Club Football semi-finals, Tommy Walsh and his Kerins O'Rahilly's teammates are preparing to face Kilmacud Crokes.

In September, this looked unlikely for Kerins O'Rahilly's, who lost their third successive group game in the Kerry Senior Championship.

The insane depth and quality in Champions East Kerry meant it would was always going to be a difficult task.

However, Kerry club football is a plack like no other. Their unique structure saw a separate eight team championship for just senior sides, with Kerins O'Rahilly's emerging victorious with victory over Templenoe in October.

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Hard fought wins over Éire Óg and Newcastlewest made them Munster champions, and set up a mouthwatering clash with Kilmacud Crokes.

Tommy Walsh On Road To Semi-Finals

After retiring from Kerry in 2021, two-time All-ireland winner Tommy Walsh has been key to Kerins O'Rahilly's success this year with vital goals in the Munster championship.

Speaking ahead of this weekend, Walsh admitted the new calendar helped Kerins O'Rahilly's in the Kerry Championship.

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I think previously the club championship was held in May. So, if you had won the club championship and then a divisional team had won the county championship - which had happened before - there was such a huge gap.

You're talking about winning a club in May and then maybe playing a Munster semi-final or quarter-final in October/ November. And then you're training during the county championship even though you might be knocked out, not knowing whether you were going through or not.

But we knew going into that club final - because of the way the season was structured - that if we won that final, we were going through. It probably made things a bit easier for us.

When Kerry finished and had won the All-Ireland, it was straight into the club championship at that stage. From a club player's perspective, we were gearing up for that during the second half of the summer."

For Tommy Walsh, he must have thought the days of huge games in Croke Park was over after retiring from county football in 2021.

However, his side have adopted a never say die attitude to reach Sunday's semi-final. They will be underdogs against a star studded Kilmacud Crokes side that have looked unstoppable so far this season.

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On what he has described as one of the best days of his career, Tommy Walsh is confident his side can overcome the odds.

Over the last couple of games, we haven't played to our potential - it's good that we snuck over the line - but we feel if we can get guys playing well, that we've a real shot.

When we run out on Croke Park on Sunday, it'll be one of the best days of my sporting career by a distance, whatever happens after that.  I'll just be so proud to be running out there with those guys, guys that we've battled with over the last couple of years, through really, really bad days. And some good days.

It'll be a great occasion. But the most important thing is that we get a performance out of ourselves and we do ourselves justice on the day."

SEE ALSO: 6 Of Our Favourite Stories From The 2022 GAA Club Season 

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