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They don’t do hyperbole in Kilkenny.
Walter Walsh made his senior inter-county bow in the 2012 All-Ireland hurling final replay, having been a substitute throughout that summer.
The former underage rugby player – a team-mate of Tadhg Furlong at New Ross – scored 1-03 and won the man of the match award for his efforts in the victory over Galway.
“It wasn’t a bad debut,” he admits with a smile.
“We had just lost to Clare in the U21 final two weeks prior to that, so it was definitely a great way to get over the disappointment of that loss.
“I was lucky enough to get the start at No 14 for that game. It was my first game ever playing with Kilkenny so it was a bit of a shock. We won anyway, thankfully.”
Seven years later and Walsh, now 28, is preparing for his fifth final and first since 2016. The loss that year to Tipperary was the only time he has experienced defeat on the big day and the fact that the Premier men are the opposition again on Sunday helps to sharpen the focus.
“You begin to think will you be back there again? It’s great to get to an All-Ireland final and we’re
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