Looking back over old Democrat files last week, we came across an article (see below) of Donegal star, David Walsh, making the headlines for another reason some.
Seventeen years ago now, in 1995, the Naomh Brid player was a budding soccer star at 12 years of age after taking part in a ‘Shoot’ School of Soccer in Leicester, England.
Subsequently he spent some time at Kenilworth Road on the books of Luton Town before his GAA career took off.
It took the Ballintra man some time to impress at county level but he is now making up for lost time and has become one of the most dependable players available to Jim McGuinness.
A quiet and solid individual, Walsh is never likely to be seen in the limelight, but when it comes to taking responsibility, he is one of the most dependable players in the present Donegal set up.
Not likely to be among the top scorers, Walsh’s ability to win and hold possession, with a pirouette or sidestep fits in perfectly with the way Jim McGuinness wants his team to perform.
After playing a lead role in the preliminary round win over Derry, Walsh is now looking forward to a much tougher assignment against Derry in MacCumhaill Park on Saturday evening.
Putting in the training hours comes naturally to Walsh, as he is one of the most dedicated players, toiling away during the winter hours, whether that be on the field or in the Mill Park Hotel gym.
“It’s all about working hard. Our complete focus is on Derry. They are up there with the top sides in the country,” he says.
But Walsh feels that Donegal are a better side this year. “That bit of maturity gained from last year was evident early on against Cavan when we went a few points down. We didn’t panic, even though we knew Cavan were going to be a big test on their home ground.
The pressure for places in the Donegal panel is something that the Ballintra man feels is working in their favour. “Every man is mad to get in for Saturday’s game and they are pushing themselves to impress.
“Whatever 15 go out there on the day will be capable of getting a result, we are certain of that. Everyone in the panel is important and we won’t be dwelling on who is or isn’t available.
“We’re all confident in our ability to deliver what the manager is expecting of us,” said Walsh.
All those hours of training will have been worth it if Donegal can advance to the Ulster semi-final on Saturday evening, and if anyone has built up enough reserves to draw on, then that person is David Walsh.